The Man in the Last Pew
—for the man with the same name as mine
It’s a little thing for me to live through these cards.
They show the places that make my mind smile—
places I’d live in if I knew magic, or didn’t have
the job of owning all of the dreams of my past.
Christmas cards are easier to live in. I’ve collected more
than 3,000 cards since 1985. The reds and the blues
that glitter have a different meaning when I
can put my hands on the edges of their frame.
People make me scratch my head. People take more
time to show off true colors. And people forget people
are not all hard. When in state’s hands, I thought
I would miss people, but the medicine made me
only depend on the movies in my mind, scenes where
Mama sat in our living room, while I read how the words
to the Bible move in this life, without the worry
of her suffering. Suffering comes like daylight
into my bedroom, now, taking me out of the darkness,
into creaky pews of Mission Church on Pearl Street.
I bring with me Mama memories—the birthday
and Christmas cards I hand out to the worn faces
I have come to smile at in my come back to the world.
I could be a mad dog about it all, but I have food, the
warmth of my apartment, and how God put new
light in my head. The new moved out the old,
and no institution will tie down my dreams, now. I accept
all my nightmares, and all bright daylight shining too.
—by Curtis L. Crisler