“and Pastor speaks with God, while I/repent my youth that/like the flower which fades/has been my secret, golden calf.”
In the mouth of a hollar
at the end of a gravel driveway,
a single-wide trailer lies like a pine box
with husband and wife (bags beneath eyes,
lines drawn in skin) allowing Pastor and me
to stand at the threshold of the room where
the old, dusty mother,
sleeps beneath bedsheets.
Dead—she looks dead to me
because she breathes shallow,
“May we pray with you?” Pastor asks the couple,
who nod, then bow their heads
and hold each other’s hands.
I slip into the kitchen,
within earshot of the gray-heads gathered,
and Pastor speaks with God, while I
repent my youth that
like the flower which fades
has been my secret, golden calf.
Mark Botts lives with his wife Rebecca and their three children in West Virginia. He is a visiting instructor of English with Bluefield State University. He also serves as a Bible teacher for his church and as a strength and conditioning coach for a Christian school. He writes essays, poems, stage plays, and screenplays. His screenplay The Women Will Be Here Soon is in pre-production for a shoot in the fall of 2023.