'Still Life in Orange' by Jim Davis-Rosenthal
Still Life in Orange, Jim Davis-Rosenthal, 1999.

 

 

How to Remodel the Interior of a Catholic Church
Sherman Alexie

 

The mute carpet must be replaced with mute carpet.
White walls will be scraped clean and painted dark blue.

Half of the original pews should face east while the rest face west.
The parishioners will be performers.

God loves a circus which loves itself.
We shall leave our shoes in the vestibule.

Keep your favorite saint like a coin in your pocket.
Keep your favorite saint like a ringing in your ears.

Hang a small mirror for the Mohawk saint Tekakwitha.
Her smallpox scars disappeared as she died.

The stained glass should be filled with home movies:
Junior imagines a sin, commits the sin, and then is forgiven.

Build nests in the rafters and pray for birds.
Cook simple soups in the kitchen.

Sculpt candles in the shape of beautiful men and women.
Their smoke will still be smoke.

Hope is trying to find a place to park.
Charity is looking for her name tag.

Grace is a child crying in the balcony.
Faith is a woman sitting in a folding chair.

The choir is a jukebox that plays three songs for a quarter.
The priest’s pockets are heavy with change.

 

 

 

 

Text © 1996, 1999 by Sherman Alexie
"How to Remodel the Interior of a Catholic Church" first appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Volume II, Number 2. The work appears here by permission of the author.


Original Graphic Image, "Still Life in Orange" © 1999 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal


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