Heaven is hell-bent, a misshapen sanctuary
where men make sinners out of love, sibyls from
devils and saints out of the fairer sex. The
less clever pray for deliverance in a cup,
Gods nectar; bitter-sweet ambrosia by the barrel;
His holy bottled excellence, sixteen fluid ounces,
light, stout, pale or pilsner, for nightly immortality.
Dear deacon of the deli, bringer of
my bread and sacrilege. Clandestine
clerk who offers passage to His hazy
river Styx, in brown paper bags and
long side glances that confess
disbelief a 2AM pilgrimage can wait
for the sacrament of home.
Two coins short, and Charon grins,
no ferry waits when his toll goes unpaid.
Forgive me Ahmed, for I am dimmed.
Sweet Gods of Hell and mercy, grant me light,
and credit, that I may learn peace and pass
this dark and grim abyss, to far and pleasant lands
where one dreams and is awake.
Charon nods, Pity, he says, Go-Then,
Take-It, Go-And-Bid-Farewell. But
Heaven has no room for cleverness;
this world is a loan to be repaid,
and I will you see you once again,
with a stone at your back
and Hell at your heels.
Our hero sobers on, a long voyage home safe,
with bags of ambrosia, two pockets full of coins,
and the hidden smile of Sisyphus son.