Ora Pro Nobis
Between the worn wooden pews
parishioners in a double row
approach the priest to take Communion
rocking with each step
Fewer every year
thinner, fatter, grayer, balder
fewer baptisms, more funerals
No more bazaars to mark the end of summer
with Polkas and bingo and beer
No more ancient pipe organ playing the hymns
sung in the tongue of the people who built this place
Storybook saints line the walls
silent in their stained-glass windows
A dragon hides behind the robes of a Pope
looks warily at the armored figure in the next window over
Does he wonder what fate awaits him
when the pews are empty and the organ falls silent?
He does not. He is colored glass and paint.
It does not matter to him
if in a few years he is a storybook window in a church far away
or shards of colored glass in the rubble
of a church that used to be.