It must be the texture of the paper,
those tissue-like pages
that many Bible publishers favor.
The texture of the text
the young minister thinks to distract himself.
His mind darts to context
and veers to textile, anything to relieve
the antiseptic masking urine reek
from the toilet, the shouts and yelps
of the bedbound-less-than-lucent
and the sigh-like sound
should he stop her
of the thin paper giving
as she claws another page
from the book and brings the word
of God to her drool-slick lips
which are dark with ink, nearly black,
as though burnt by the literal.
Michael Chitwood has published recent work in Poetry, Field, Image, and The Georgia Review. His poems regularly appear in The Threepenny Review.