Laodicean: A Poem

A parochial mother watches dust spin.

A father notices that his tennis shoes are not, in fact, made of opaque fabric, but of layers of mesh with holes full of nothing piled on top of each other.

The next child up answers, “H Y P O C H R O N D R I A C”

I try to clap but my palms are dull and pink.

A wealthy mother laughs at nothing, and reciprocates a compliment.

“ L A O D I C E A N” The librarian dings the bell, she says the correct spelling was “L E O D I C E A N”

We all know the librarian is wrong, but no one speaks. The child looks at his feet.

A grandfather follows the hands of a clock, and they skip a second.

An uncle tries to count the number of strings fraying off of the seat of his chair, but keeps losing count.

A relative stares at the ceiling tiles. He can tell that they once were white.

None of us have realized that only one child is left. She has been standing alone on the stage for  half an hour, waiting to be

rewarded. The librarian looks at her, or rather through her. I think something is wrong here, but I’m not sure, and so I look back

at the parochial mother and her mote of dust still swirling.

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