Across the avenue, three of them
throw long sundown shadows
over the parking lot, and in the gloaming,
our Wawa is Calvary, and all parked up.
The vagrants are cadging change at
both doors; the Hillers are grabbing
Pampers and milk for Saturday;
men eat hoagie dinners in their trucks,
ogle the women in yoga pants,
listen to sports talk, and slowly chew.
The stoplights swing in the wind—
rising now: summer storm.
Which crossbar would be Dismas’s
and which the hanging god’s
depends on who is left, who is right.
Does the god face south and watch
us lost pedestrians come and go,
heading home, our backs to him,
or does he face the north,
his back to ours, bleeding out
and talking to the sky, as if it heard?
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 36 Number 2, on page 34
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