Kipling’s Guide to Absolution

If you can pray over the clamorous bells, listless angels,
that run amuck in the church rafters
If you can ope the vein, feign rapture amongst
a tongue-slack and sin steeped congregation.

If you can fast then feast, Eucharist. Rinse, repeat.
Even then you cannot know him.
For although he is there, just beyond the glass
paned crucifixion, He offers only

a pageant queen wave. Wrist swivel, open palm.

If you can pray over the clapping hands of fools
destined for damnation
and wince the blood from your eyes,
bled by coronation.
His is the heel noticed as it rounds a corner,
out of sight. Always,

he always has some other place to be. Via Dolorosa.

Pick the gravel from your knee’s flesh and
from between your teeth.
Drink the dust of church floor tea. If you can
do these things, you may find him
in the garden,