standing in the light of salvation

i was standing
in a ring of
reds and purples
cast through the
stained glass windows
of the baptist church
large round circles
depicting various
iconography that
while appalling to
my own devout derision
was appealing to my
sense of color
i had spent a strong
five minutes basking
in the beautiful
windows and admiring
the neoclassical
architecture of
the non denominational
place of equal parts
business and worship

i have been in the
vaults of these buildings
watching an entire
squadron running the
currency counters into
the ground counting out
the weekly tithings
been there during the
week when the pastor’s
spot has a brand new
sleek european sports car
and on sundays when
the same spot has a
rundown beater piously placed
seen more money counted
than a monday at the bank

i find most of them
here in the deep south
to resemble less a church
and more a stadium
designed to sell salvation
picking the pockets
with sleight of hand
and promises no one can
in good conscience sell
soullessness on display
in dark stained wood
this one at least
attempted to feel like
a place of worship
instead of a walmart
even though i realized
it was basically the same
as shopping at target
and feeling better than
the commoners slumming it
in the desolate wasteland

the lady from the office
politely cleared her throat
gently breaking my
seemingly devout reverie
and led me to the back
gone were the symbols
replaced by an office
where the bottom line
was the true good work
nodding happily as i
extolled the beauty of
those stained glass refrains
mistaking a love for art
for whatever delusions
pass for religious fervor
as she explained how much
those windows cost the
parishioners to purchase

all they need is
one of those scanners
then we could swipe
our wrists and pay
the going rate on paradise
the church used to
allow that to the rich
maybe they can find
a way to finance salvation
for the common person

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