On street level just to the left
there is a stone façade,
a carved nameplate streaked
with decades of grime:
Secular Mondays I pass by on foot,
scurrying from commute to work,
later from work to commute.
It is always deserted: no pulse,
no vibrance, no rousing gospel singing
I think must be there on sacred Sundays.
I wonder about this place, ponder its purpose.
Is it an information center for Christians,
full of biblical tracts and assessing glances
to ensure only the righteous access?
Is it a center with information about Christianity,
open to all -- in fact covetous of those
not saved, but might yet be?
I like to imagine it dispensing
all sorts of information
according to true Christian values.
I can just see the swell of humanity
on the early Sunday sidewalk:
Some jockey for position, cutting in line.
Dapper men, women dressed to the nines
tap well-heeled shoes, a rhythm section out of synch.
Young necks crane with curiosity, boredom.
Tattoos peek through the shirts of several women,
while others wear their hijab without worry.
Canes keep more than a few from toppling;
there are at least five barely awake
so soon after Saturday night.
Then there is movement
in the window of the CIC:
A mild-mannered man,
glowing caramel skin,
the hint of Haitian in his hum.
This sole staffer emerges.
In his hand a jumbled assortment of
gossip, time-saving recipes,
current events, ambitious poems,
dull cartoons, stinging editorials,
advice for frugal travel abroad,
and tips for the stock market.
The crowd hushes.
He walks the line,
appraising them all:
old and young,
able and stumbling,
linen and polyester.
His is an amble relaxed, intent.
He halts, distributes
the collection in his hand:
Of course, it is the meekest
who inherits the information,
the poorest most preferred
for this smattering of earthly news.
Yet it is not only the lamb,
who receives the message,
but also the lion,
and if I’m not mistaken,
there is also enough
for the leper.
(cc) Karen G. Johnston