William Miller

William Miller’s sixth collection of poetry, Recovering Biker, was published by The Edwin Mellen Press in 2017.  His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Penn Review, Westerly (Australia), Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner and West Branch.  He lives and writes in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

 

                                                     

                                                   

A Priest in Normandy

Father is so old he barely remembers

the village where he was born—

mist on the morning fields,

his mother dying of fever.

 

The church took him in,

acolyte, deacon, priest.

He raised the Host through

through two world wars,

 

forgave a thousand sins

inside a black wooden booth.

He lived so long, he saw

his flock dwindle to

 

three nuns, a blind widow.

a beggar who only wanted

to get out of the cold.

This morning, a stranger

 

sits in the back pew,

dark-skinned, nervous, an

immigrant from the camp

outside the city walls.

 

He walks up to receive

and slits Father’s throat

so suddenly, he dies before

he knows he’s been murdered.

 

He never hears the awful screams,

the name of a foreign god

shouted to the ancient rafters…

Christ still hangs on the cross,

 

though his wounds only seem

to bleed–the blood

on the stone floor flows quickly,

freely, a dark sacrament.

                                                  

 

© 2018 William Miller