An Anglo-Catholic Procession in a Midwestern Church
Wearing his cope like a leather jacket and jeans,
the priest steers the procession,
a diesel truck with an oversized trailer
turning left through the narrow
two-laned small-town streets
of the congregation’s protestant piety,
heedless of the fenders of their faith
hastily backed away
from the crosswalk of the center aisle.
The thurible-swinging acolyte,
like the chrome-plated grill of a monstrous tractor
giving notice of the behemoth’s approach,
barrels on toward his goal,
smoke like diesel exhaust billowing
around and over the crucifer’s head.
If I pump my right fist arm raised high
like a kid in a passing Coupe de Ville,
will he let out with the shriek of an air horn?
The choir swings wide, rolling off the pavement,
leaving a deep polyphonic rut
in the garden sensibilities of the faithful
at the edge of the road.
Slightly over-correcting, they get back on track
and find the coda in the choir loft.
Torch-bearers and eucharistic ministers,
sub-deacon and deacon,
shudder and stumble to their places,
an 18-wheeler with defective air brakes.
“Blessed be God . . . ”
intones the trucker celebrant;
“And blessed be his kingdom . . . ”
sighs the relieved assembly.
(By C. Eric Funston)
Illustration: Procession of re-ordained in a church by Paolo Uccello (1469)