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by Barrett Warner

    Sooner or later it had to happen
    the First Baptist factory outlet
    where it doesn't cost so much
    to believe in God,
    or pray to Jesus,
    and they only sing
    the chorus parts of hymns.

    When the basket
    comes around
    I give it a dollar
    that's lived in a lot of pockets,
    a faded crease splitting
    George Washington's forehead.

    "Wait a minute, son" the Deacon says
    "You got change coming." And in front
    of everybody he gives me 25 cents.

    "God wants you to call Him" he adds.

    The next time I go to church
    I put a quarter in the basket.
    "Wait a minute, son" the Deacon says.

    This time he gives me a dime.

    By the end of the month my faith
    is reduced to a shiny piece of copper
    just big enough to press between
    my worried fingers when the phone rings

    and I know it's Sara calling.


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