I couldn’t expect you,
while I waited sweltering by the window of an Uptown po’boy shop,
to have a nihilistic revelation right there
between the humming soda cooler and the counter.
You did admit that you were stupid,
but implored your fellow po’boy patron
as you cracked open your second root beer
to “read the book”
after practicing your sermon about Isaiah
on that foot-tapping construction worker.
You had a childlike eagerness that made be believe
that you had indeed been reborn sometime
seven or eight years ago after waking up
in your own whiskey vomit
and going to church still-drunk
without your wife even telling you to.
The words trickling out of your meek-at-last mouth
“He still loves me. He forgives me,”
each time injecting your conscience
with a shot of righteousness.
So you read the first and only book you’ve ever read,
after being hardened by damp New Orleans after dark
for two whole decades,
heartened at the way that book
butterflies out in front of you with all of the answers
printed neatly in columns
punctuated by a Word every so often
a Word that you float on,
The Thing that loves you the most,
and that you fear the most.