From that “Don’t You Worry!” book

to plasticine Buddhas molded by coughing Chinese lungs

this country mart in the nowhere town Fredonia, New York

just up the road from my cowgirl sister’s manse


strives to be a little lamp that shines

flash-flickering on a narrowing backwoods highway

in deep Chautauqua solitude, all-penetrating Lily Dale light,

Virgin Marys comfortable on its shelves.


This shop foursquare between us and hell’s chittering gate

beguiles us with sacred images we’d only profane

while the proprietor ogles a Kirk Douglas champion movie

pounding along an a cable tv wired straight up to high heaven.


This guys says don’t ever count out buddhas or polyester virgins

says they haul us awake for the very next round

smack us out of our flagrant dreams

down onto the rough salvation canvas.