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Editor's Note



by  Nathanael Tagg

At the altar
of this country church,
a young man’s losing his life
in order to find it. The congregation—
his family in every sense—
howls at his inside jokes
and nods in support of his calling
to carry the gospel far and wide.
How it must feel to be
the pride of one’s family—
thinks one of the few here
who hardly clap, or sing, or bow.
Elders emerge from the ranks
and surround the missionary
so a few battered hands can palm his head
and many more can clutch his arms.
Each takes a turn telling God what to do
with an obedient son who, moments from now,
will depart to the sound of clapping,
will move stiffly, as if the hands
neither have nor will
let go.

Nathanael Tagg teaches writing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Metropolitan Community College. His poetry has appeared in Numinous: Spiritual Poetry, Sleet, Visions with Voices, Grey Sparrow Journal, and Poetry Quarterly.

Copyright 2012 Nathanael Tagg .© This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.