Every Man Clearly

Lyric                                                              Action

I may never march in the infantry,         [stomp in place]

Ride in the cavalry,                                   [hold imaginary reins]

SHOOT! the artillery,                                [clap, make a cannonball fist]

I may never fly over the enemy,           [arms as wings]

But I’m in the Lord’s Army, YES SIR!     [stiff-backed salute]


God was the imperceptible sphere formed

by innumerable spy satellites capable

of determining whether or not

my dinner fork lay right of my salad fork.

By the light of His infrared gaze I tried

to count how many sins I could scrape

out from under my fingernails, lost

track, grew sleepy, woke up in the infantry

in the Lord’s Army. Those pushups

they made us do only made my arms

tired and when I asked if the enemy

was also doing pushups and if

so, how many could they do,

and who won the Last Great

Pushup Battle? When I asked

that they made me do extra.

My fellow GI assigned to clean the latrines

helped me perfect my insubordination:

Appreciate that hiss of a lit

match dropped into the toilet!

Let’s call God

unjust—He’ll just fry us

with His holy magnifying glass

and remain in the right, since

it’s His magnifying glass, His light!

I learned to use cleaning supplies

to graffiti bright heresies into the ceiling.

At my court martial, the corporal-slash-attorney

accused me of striking doubt

against flint to light faith’s

tattered curtains (I wanted

to let more light in).

The courtroom door shook

with a gentle knocking.

My Lord, Your Honor, I see

men as trees, walking

into a forest of fire that does not consume.

I appealed my case

to a higher court, where I was found

guilty and my sentence

was perpetual forgiveness.