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Sunday, October 04, 2009


by Steve Kissing

My friend remembers the exact
Day he left the Catholic Church:
It was October 4th, the feast of Saint Francis,
The patron saint of animals.

The entire congregation was encouraged
To bring their pets and cows and chickens
To an outdoor Mass for a special blessing.
My friend stood with the rest of the parishioners

As Father McGivens sprinkled the dogs and cats,
The hamsters and snakes, the goats and sheep
With holy water while making the sign of the cross
In a large, sweeping manner just as the Pope

Does from his perch above St. Peter’s Square.
My friend, who months prior had been told
By Father McGivens that he was a despicable creature,
Left the Mass even before Holy Communion.

“They’ll bless a ferret, but not a fag,” my friend said,
“Maybe they’d feel better about me if I fucked horses.”
My friend has never been back to church since,
And he refuses to go to the zoo or to date anyone with a pet.

Steve Kissing used to be possessed by the devil. At least that’s what he believed as a child, and he wrote about that in his memoir, Running from the Devil (Crossroad Books). His poems have appeared (or soon will) in such print and online journals as: Thick With Conviction, Best Poem, Poetry Friends, Boston Literary Magazine, The Blue Ash Review, Bolts Of Silk, and Paterson Literary Review. Kissing’s first print-based chapbook, Survival Of The Fittest (Big Table Publishing), will appear in early 2010. Steve is no longer possessed by the devil. Or so he believes.