The priest at the altar turns around and looks out
over the meager congregation seated in the pews.
Not many bother coming to church anymore.
The attending altar boy is texting on his device.
The priest’s attention settles on an older women
absently fingering her prayer beads.
As if he had been struck by a blow to his head
from behind, he realizes suddenly that he doesn’t
believe anymore, and perhaps he never really did.
The wife looks across the dinner table at her husband,
then at her daughter who is angry with the father
for some compelling teen-aged reason.
The woman is surprised to realize that she doesn’t
love either of them, and the more she thinks
about it, perhaps she never actually did.
She excuses herself from the table, goes to the closet,
puts on her coat, lifts her purse over her shoulder,
opens the purse and withdraws the car keys,
then walks out the door and drives away.
The men in suits sit around the table at a meeting.
There are profit charts being discussed, and pastries
have been brought in to accompany the stale coffee.
One man begins softly crying, then his sobs grow louder.
He looks around at the startled faces, then stands up
and, without explanation, leaves the room.
He goes to his cubicle, turns off his computer, stares
for a moment at an old plaque he once received
for exceeding the departmental sales goals.
He slowly glances around at the other cubicles.
He wants to say something, but instead just sighs,
then takes the elevator down to exit the building.
Out along the river bank, there is a man who keeps
digging holes in the ground and then filling them up.
Nobody sees him, but if they did, they would wonder.
Only someone whose very meaning and life’s purpose
had also once collapsed would nod and understand