Bert Defeated and Worn

You might not know this:
Sesame Street is real.
Bert is a barista at an overpriced coffeehouse
I frequent on snowy days.

Actually, we’ve struck up a friendship
based on lengthy and heated conversations
regarding the nature of God.
Bert is a die-hard atheist,
and although I’m not an atheist
I’m close enough to remain level with him.

Bert says some crazy shit,
“They need the devil and they take it up the
metaphorical ass for it. Poor bastards
think they’re going to the promised land
and instead their own creation eats them
in their beds at night.”
Steam from the frother raising up around his pointy yellow head,
his brow a solid bush V,
beady black eyes relentlessly probing.

I almost felt guilty,
like Bert knew something I didn’t.
Like the devil was fucking me at night,
in my dreams, and Bert saw it in me
with his relentless, impatient stare.
I had never thought this until Bert
planted the seed in my awareness.

“God is a letdown,”
he said a few days later, handing me the
drink of the week.

“Bert Defeated and Worn” appeared in Haggard & Halloo February 25, 2007

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Filed under poetry, published work

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