Stained sneakers scuffing sidewalk,
hands stuffed in the pocket of a torn pea-coat
Daniel in bluejeans screams sermons
into frozen air. Red-bearded,
handknit cap hiding long curls,
he’s a latter-day prophet promising damnation.
Across the street
Neojesus preaches free love,
thrusts safe sex pamphlets
into gloved fists. The gospel
of sterile needles and sanitized sex
shall save us.
Prophets are ignored in their own country.
We slip past, eyes downturned
as words ricochet, embed
in the psyche. Our bodies hide the shrapnel
of countless Sunday mornings, sharp fragments
that poison the blood. We will not listen.
Their voices draw fire from air
as they read the words spray-painted on the wall:
Me’ne, Me’ne, Te’kel,
God has numbered our kingdom, and finished it.
We are weighed in the balance, and are found wanting.
Our kingdom is divided, and given over.
We will not listen.