James is Gone - Spencer McKinley

Don’t cry. Listen.
Even the birds know
When to shut up.
Not even a crow sings
Today. Every choir boy should hold
His breath. Take his tongue if you need to.

Get every Christian woman in a room,
Kneeling down, head bowed.
Silent. Praying. Not for James.
But for themselves.
I want them in Easter dresses bright enough
To burn in the hell they put him through.
The hell they sent him to.

Phone Ruben Mantz. Haley Prado. Elizabeth Robinson
Tell them James is gone.

Instruct the children to burn
Their desks beneath the cross.
Melt the podium on which he stood
And pour it over the pulpit. Tear the books
From the library shelves.
Stack them in the narthex.
Invite the town to shred every page.

Then speak to your grandmother.
Tell her you know the truth you long suspected:
James did not go with a failing heart –
The story her church, your church, his children’s
Choir’s church, fed the masses like manna. No – the disease her lips refuse to mention
Tired of its own repression
And finally took the rest of him.