A humble curate making the best of it,
coddled between a bishop’s marmoreal thighs–
small talk below the salt peters out
as devils get down to business
trampling eggshells into the tablecloth,
a whiff of sulphur less sweet than a speckled fart
not worth a farthing laid on a collection tray,
their silken skipping ropes of raw white
clinging to apostle spoons,
hoping to fertilise a meringue wedding dress,
whisked and frisked,
starched petticoats patted down,
rendered neutral as all things
bright and beautiful–more precious
and worked on than Fabergé
hatching a dainty two-horse phaeton
from the yoke of pure gold the parlour maid
refuses to eat in case it turns her into a princess.
Gothic windows pine for divine light,
musty hymn books topple sideways,
medieval bosses let rip with pungent alleluias.
The bishop may be afraid, but the curate is stoic–
his buttered bread soldiers held fast in inky fingers,
as God only knows, he’s also a poet.