theological mistake (poem)
A Californian professor
of theology is haunting an
Irish pub, and she is
slowly coming to realize
That it all came down to this,
really — Paddy has already
turned Seamus’s beer
to whiskey twice, just for fun
Paddy despises whiskey, says it tastes like
a barn on fire.
The Morrigan has already
loaded the dice so that they only come up snake eyes.
Padraig is chatting up the pretty barmaid
both of them know she’ll never go home with him
but the dance goes on from week to week, laced with
compliments on her pretty eyes and
his gorgeous hair.
There are always enough sandwiches and pickles.
She is rather frustrated that she got it wrong
All those years wondering
if it were one god or many
comparing jews and catholics and protestants
with Shinto kindness
teaching about Ganesha when
all along, Levi was sitting in a booth
making the full glasses flash red, white, red
with a pass of his hand, and giggling.
Mhaire has brought around a plate of sandwiches again
the homeless girl who shuffles in
is handed one and a pair of new shoes and socks
and is sat in the warmest seat in the joint. Mhaire will take her home
later, because no one should be sleeping rough
in this cold?
Joe has the passaround guitar and
is streaming divine castles of sound,
rearranging the cigarette smoke
into chargers and knights. Magdalena
has her flute, and she is spinning caparisons
out of the high notes and jeweling the armor
and the bridles.
These were the things she missed
when studying theology
these are the things
she should have taught,
she shakes her hands, distraught
that she cannot speak to them
tell them the truth
and Paddy looks right at her
and says “s’okay, lassie. They’ll
find us when they have need of us.”