George Bishop


The few parishioners in attendance dim
their minds even more when the performance
is about to begin. Primed for nearly an hour
by thunderous music and technical adjustments
that seem to have relieved the spirit of its duties,
weakened the effects of the invisible, everything
positions itself to fall just right. For three more
hours the air is metallurgical—verses turn
pickpocket, there's just enough sweat to sway.
Ah, the rhyme of a dime. When it's all over
the pastor's the only proof they need, even
though their god may need a little more.

I'm thinking tongue after tongue has tried
to tell them this but the pronunciation was poor,
the spelling suspicious, the meaning . . . a need
for more meetings, perhaps. Can we give
a god too much? Can you expect too little?
It seems our ability to recreate has left us
nowhere to turn except to ourselves. If only
we'd keep watching the past go by, the future
would die out—that fire the pastor spoke of
would turn a different red, appear eye level,
feathered, the world of a blueberry balanced
in its beak as it leans into the light just right.

Keeping It from the Children

When is it too much, too little? The father
was obviously serious as he shared a donut
with his daughter at a local coffee house.
His voice was no more than a whisper,
intended for her and only her—a kind of heart
to heart. However, I noticed the cartoonist
was gone from the little girl's eyes. The look
of a small woman had sketched itself out
of her drawn and confining face. They left.
The silence left was the silence of a half eaten
strawberry donut. I imagined the child lost

in the hole she glowingly looked through
when they arrived. Her dolls would hear of this—
one night when she gets them alone, each one
will utter its first words, take its first step.
Only repetition can save her, now, imitation
only survives so long in such air. Secrets begin
their search for other figures of speech, what
she shares after this will come with conditions.
Her parent's lies have begun their long walk
back to half truths—her father's almost forgivable
and her mother's what she's doomed to repeat.

George Bishop's latest work appears in New Plains Review and Melusine. New work will be included in Naugatuck River Review and The Penwood Review. Bishop is the author of four chapbooks, most recently Old Machinery from Aldrich Publishing. He attended Rutgers University and now lives and writes in Kissimmee, Florida.



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