Joseph Sigurdson

A Priest

There’s a priest in town. Monsignor Something-Or-Another. He’s been wandering up and down the streets with a saunter like his knees hurt. Makes it out as if he has a place to be and carries a face like he knows we’re watching. Something’s wrong about him, Ma’am. Young lot said he’s been huffing old incense. Next-door Granny called it a stigmata. I spoke with the altar boy and he said there’s a Cathar psalm in the cellar. Whatever it is, it’s making him misspeak. Last sermon he said, “This life on Earth is just as it is in Heaven.”


The liquor is beginning to yell at me. This morning I mistook it for thunder. Remember when I knelt on the bathroom floor and you shaved my neck? Dad’s demon prowls deeper than hair. Now I know why they pray at AA. I know why they drink vanilla on Sunday.


When I do sleep, I spit out my teeth. It’s not always a bloody mess. Sometimes they clack out like Chiclets on the table. And I’m back in third grade, shoeless, with Mrs. Politski writing repent repent again and again on the board with a gluestick. When I wake there’s no sweat in the sheets. My teeth fall out but I don’t quiver.

Joseph Sigurdson is a prose poet from Buffalo, New York. He currently attends SUNY Oswego as a creative writing major. He has recently completed his debut collection of poetry, and has been published in Great Lake Review.