how to dream your religion, by r.t. castleberry

Back aching, I spend hours
rough sleeping on an old mattress,
disturbed by an End Times imagination,
dreaming arguments with raging dead.

My mother thought herself a Christian,
talked of the End of Days
whenever we spoke.
Not fearful but accepting,
her fingers curled around Bible’s edge
relating Rapture’s promise,
one Apostle’s murderous fantasy.
As neighbors answered mission bells,
she took a Sunday window seat,
smoked Winstons, doubted the divinity
of worship from the Douay Bible.
“It doesn’t relate the Word of Jesus,” she said.

Straying old day’s streets—
whitewashed barrio church,
tents on bazaar grounds,
caged schoolyards,
I park my car in half-light autumn.
The last of the festival-goers drag home,
arms filled with prize bags or sleepy kids.
I come through every five years,
testing roots, the attachments of nostalgia.
In memory, she is always dead.
I’ll stop soon.


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