He knew all the protestants, I the Catholics,
those I’d seen at mass and the Pancake Breakfasts,
the believer who asked me to join the Knights,
the gentle man with a smoker’s cough that killed him,
The woman, old and Irish, whose whispered critiques
of father’s homily rang in the narthex.
For me, the crypted protestants, mostly Presbyterians,
were just obituary headlines.
You’d think we were in Northern Ireland. My protestant
friend shared stories of those not Catholic who he
remembered as neighbors, co-workers, or victims.
We both wondered at a weathered cigarette
jammed into the gap between niche door and frame
in lieu of flowers, checked for a pharos’ name,
then wandered away to our respective niches
each smug that his crypt will offer the better view.
— Dan Branch
• The Capital City Weekly, which runs in the Juneau Empire’s Thursday editions, accepts submissions of poetry, fiction and nonfiction for Writers’ Weir. To submit a piece for consideration, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.