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Epistle to St. Paul upon Seeing the Power Team at First Baptist Church, Lake Charles, LA

                                    Steven Wingate


We’ve finally done it. Reduced the mysteries
to Jesus vs. Devil, crossbred transubstantiation
with Texas high school football and the tractor pull.
Christ, stripped down to a talisman,
incites ex-cripples to miracles of force.
Jesus smashes flaming concrete with his skull.
Jesus runs through walls of ice. Jesus tears phone books
and steels the muscles of the chosen
who need only call His name to feel His might.

Here on earth, we grow more desperate for truth
with the arrival of each new charlatan who chants the Name,
who raises his voice against abomination,
who prays we will slay our foes with justice.
We stretch one grain of truth into a column of fire,
then bow before the flame and singe our flesh
to proclaim the angry vigor of our faith.

Show us one certainty—even the End Times—
before Jesus struts on every altar with balled fists
and arms fit to prove He is King of Kings.


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