the preacher

The preacher was old and dusty.
His teeth, when his mouth opened,
spitting rage, were yellowed,
his eyes hateful, spits of coal.

You’re going to Hell, he claimed,
his worn-out refrain a litany of
sodomites, single mums,
masturbation, abortion and blame.

A man approached to ask of him,
Sir, do you know your Bible well?
The preacher, taken aback, said yes.
Sir, continued the man, you do not.

Jesus, said the man, spoke not
of all that you condemn. Instead,
he talked of love. Judge not
lest you be judged, found wanting.

The preacher’s anger stirred, a fire,
but his challenger did not want a war,
and so he walked away. As he did,
the preacher saw his wings at last

and gasping, terrified, he fled.

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andrew hinkinson
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