Dogs 2007

SYMBOLIC DIFFERENCES
(2/12/07)


I could tell
that the t-shirt
bothered him
but in times previous
he had held
his tongue

today
was different
and he asked
if he could speak
with me
for a while

he is
a friend
as well as
a priest
so with a bit
of trepidation
I agreed

he pointed out
that the image
on my shirt
was offensive
to some

he explained
that thousands
or perhaps
millions
had suffered
due to the entity
that the symbol
represented

he thought me
a caring
and sensitive sort
so wondered why
I would don such
egregious apparel
while appearing
in public

he paused
awaiting
an answer

I pointed out
that the image
hanging from his neck
was offensive
to some

I explained
that thousands
or perhaps
millions
had suffered
and died
by the device
that the symbol
represented

I thought him
a caring
and sensitive sort
so wondered why
he would sport
such an ornament
in public

he shook
his head
and said softly
that he worshipped
the simple
and holy
innocence
that was lost
on that
cross
and not
the instrument
itself

I said that
I understood
and that
the letter
on my shirt
stood for another
lost innocence
and that is what
I chose
to remember
not the organization
itself

he smiled
and looked upon me
with the pity
of his profession
saying that
he would see me
the next week
and thanked me
for taking the time
to talk

as I left
the church
I passed
two nuns
entering
the building

one crossed
herself
the other
looked away

I entertained
the thought
putting three fingers
at a diagonal
across my chest
but did not want
to own the blasphemy
that the gesture
might represent
to those
poor women

they may not
see the similarity
of my positioned hand
to the graphic
on my shirt

a simple letter
the second vowel
tilting its prongs
toward the northeast
as if greeting
the sunrise
of its
destruction