Think of what her withdrawal
must feel like. Her third miracle,
multiplication, exhausted, she surveys
the empty plots of subdivisions,
grids of roads and sidewalks
beside the tall brown grasses of vacancy,
looking for beggars to tend,
to indulge until financial health,
that gift from God, is rendered
unto them. She beckons investors.
She shimmers in her robes
as the Eye of Providence glistens
on the reverse of the dollar.
Yet the poor never appear to her,
their interest accruing elsewhere.
Such is the loss of belief, or if not
its loss, its steady depreciation
into marshland and dull tracts
beyond the reach of the city’s sewers.
And me—I roost at the basin
of a shopping mall fountain,
rubbing between my thumbs
two quarters, listening for the song
of the wishing well. Beads of water
flick themselves at the coins.
One quarter I’ll toss, the other
I’ll grate over Lucky 7’s scratch-offs
from the corner Exxon station.
The terminus of faith in an absurd
depot. She ministers to the sinners
making their deposits with a look
of such pleasure. When they
come to her, pleading, take it,
take it off my hands, her mercies
sound like arias sung from balconies:
the light strains of dictatorial vibrato.