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Scott Waters​


From 10:00 to 10:30

the pastor sits with Mrs. Gallagher

in her Lysol-smelling condo

brushing Persian cats off his lap

listening to her impressive list

of physical complaints

and reminding her of the virtue

of forbearance


at 11:00 he calls on Mr. Lowhorn

and helps the octogenarian

to the toilet

and back to his brown recliner

in front of the blaring TV

while encouraging him to forgive

his ne'er-do-well brother


after a nice lunch at the diner

—chicken, mashed potatoes, pecan pie—

he visits with Mrs. Schwarzkopf

who lost her husband

two months before

and finds as always

that the best approach is silence

while she sniffles softly

in her L.L. Bean rocking chair


the rest of the afternoon

the pastor sits in his office

and works on his next sermon

"Charity Above All"

the words flowing easily

even profoundly

from his experienced hand


after dinner at the parsonage

he backs his Buick

out of the white garage

and drives an hour east

through the gunpowder blue dusk

to the nearest city

of any size


parks much further away

than expected

in a quiet neighborhood

of pink flamingo lawns

and bird baths


blends into the red-shirted, 

red-hatted crowd

streaming into the arena


minutes later

he finds himself weeping

as the hot words take flight

from his contorted mouth


and join with the swirling legion

of enchanted black birds

echoing around the cavern

of concrete and steel:


"Lock. Her. Up."

Brett Stout Broken_Hands_Converge_A_Brea
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