By: David Starkey
In Yellow Springs, Ohio,
I stood at the campus gates
calling out, Fraud! Apostate!
Nevertheless, the grizzled chief
of security offered me a sandwich
and a business card from a local clergyman.
Then he asked me for a prayer.
Bob Jones University Museum
In the Old Master Collection,
the Italian Mannerist paintings
near me seemed suffused
with an ethereal glow,
which clearly diminished
when I left the room
and just as plainly
became more radiant
upon my reentering the gallery.
Whilst playing the role of Melchior
in the annual Live Nativity Pageant,
I crossed paths with the donkey,
who stepped on my bathrobe
and pulled my sweatpants to the ground.
My underwear that day was golden-hued,
although I would have sworn
on a stack of Bibles that very morning
I had dressed in red.
Exaltation of the Holy Cross
It was a pleasant September morning
in Elizabeth, New Jersey,
when I drove to the Home Depot
to buy a pair of two-by-fours.
I nailed them together and surprised
even Father Aleksander with my initiative.
Afterwards, several members of the assembly
suggested the Offertory Verses were sung
with special gusto in honor of my rough offering.
David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate and is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College. His poetry has appeared in many journals and in seven full-length collections, most recently Like a Soprano (Serving House, 2014), an episode-by-episode revisioning of The Sopranos television series. His textbook, Four Genres in Brief (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017), is in its third edition.