Dave and His Churches

You never go to church unless
it’s on your travels.
The one across the street
from where you live
hasn’t seen you since your wedding
but you scour every dark inch
of the Nossa Senhora de Salvasao
in Mumbai.
Built by Portuguese Franciscans,
you tell me.
Over 400 years old.
You spend an hour or more
in the Papeete Tahiti temple.
You tramp through every
Lutheran enclave in Sweden.
And even the Sikh gurdwara in Bangkok
is not immune to your eternal
curiosity and wanderings.
From one continent to the next,
you bear down on everyone’s religion
but your own.
You even kneel beside the congregations,
bow to their altars,
shake hands with or embrace their holy men.
You recognize how much
what people believe
defines their nature.
You give faith an Aleut or Gypsy
or even Siberian face.
But you only look in the mirror
to comb your hair, to shave,
never to ask yourself,
who is this man,
what do I believe.
The Moslem in Kabul
to the Jew in Tel Aviv
to the Christina in Moscow,
all guided by God.
To you, He’s nothing but a tour guide.

 

John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

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