when you keep that saint in your pocket,
it really is no different from me
keeping a washed-out pebble
in my purse.
your finger looming from one bead to the next,
muttering empty prayers, in repetition
to your god.
cold lips pressed on cold metal
caress the cross and then back.
Amen, you say,
and with one swift movement
of the holy gesture,
you end your appeal
with much satisfaction.
use the pew as support,
stand up, brush your knees
from any speck of dust,
wipe your tears caused by what is divine,
and proclaim that you have been cleansed.
cleansed. double-crossed. shortchanged. cleansed.