Reverend Levi Healy, Missionary to Cambodia, Delivers the Dedication Address for the New, New Baptist Church of Angkor
We are not pessimists. We believe
in the power of God above all things. Exodus:
I held half a dozen figs in one hand. That was the night
we ran, the night giant roots
stalked the jungle floor like ivory poachers, the night
roots wrapped our walls and nudged
at the foundations—they pierced
the stone weak, caught the pieces
as they fell. Merciful Lord, the pieces did not fall.
Take a moment to locate the exit doors, but do not worry.
We are better now; our pillars no longer carved,
balanced things but roots extending deeply, firmly,
far into the ground. We’ve installed
amplified sound sets, and the figs—
some are as big as my head, require two hands.
This is a celebration. No one fled,
not one of us,
as roots like ungroomed fingers hugged our chests. Genesis:
our ribs were plucked and replaced, bone for cellulose.
We lived, praise God,
to make better preparations. Revelation:
seven plagues will come upon us. Platinum-level donors
will be given flame retardant suits
and capes made of Kevlar,
anodized steel cups for their genitals. Jesus was crucified
but saved himself
that He might sit at the Lord’s right hand,
that we might live
faithfully. Chain restraints will bind
members to their seats
should Satan’s lizards invade the sanctuary. Ceiling jets
will spew insecticide in the event termites
lurk hungry for lignin, our skeletons.