My Hungover Friends’ Singing Voices in the Church Next Door
We’re in a drought
worse than the one when I was young
and still depended on the dirt.
Why’d it happen that way?
Back then I lived in a home on Main St.,
originally a parsonage,
next to the Presbyterian,
and on Sunday mornings,
figuring out my first hangovers,
I could hear my hungover friends
and their hungover fathers
mumble-sing praise at the thing
fucking them out of fall’s bushels.
I was still too Catholic to beat off,
still Catholic enough to be terrified of boredom,
all that doubt steadying its heretical feet
on surface resigned to undulate.
That was the summer that between the heat and a virus,
Iowa lost a million hogs,
the summer I was a hired hand for my cousin Tom.
And one Monday morning in late July
we pulled the heavy lid off a thousand-gallon drum
full of carcasses supposed to be collected
by the rendering truck over the weekend
and we both puked into a thousand-gallon soup
of rot and stink and maggots
but still had grace enough to crack up
while everything in us got ousted.