(Pietro Pisarra/Unsplash)

When the small boy
in the red propeller beanie
walked across our feet
and out the pew

in the middle of Mass,
we all turned away
from our priest to watch
the child push the big oak door.

Then he leaned
into a strong Sabbath wind
having chosen
a quicker way to heaven.

Gary Stein’s Touring the Shadow Factory won the Brick Road Poetry Press annual competition in 2017. His chapbook, Between Worlds (Finishing Line, 2014), was a contest finalist. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Folio, Penn Review, the Atlanta Review, and the Asheville Poetry Review. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, co-edited Cabin Fever (The Word Works, 2004), and has taught creative writing in high schools and colleges.

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Published in the October 2022 issue: View Contents
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