Mark I. Kirkmeyer

THIS OLD BOOK

Sunday morning in a crowded pew
Draw looks opening the cargo pocket
It comes out, red letter cover embossed gold
Held together with shipping tape
Somebody rolls their eyes

Pages wrinkled and torn
But the words are still there
Legible and glowing
following with the preacher
Somebody scowls

After the service
A man, holier-than-thou, asks
“Why don’t you get a new one?”
I smile and begin to respond
Somebody’s jaw drops

“Why don’t I get a new God?
This old book was a gift
When I was ready to accept
Pride welled in my mother”

Somebody stops to listen.

“When I stood at the podium
Gave my verse from memory
The picture of religious youth
Coat, tie, quoting scriptures.”

Somebody smiled

“Concern of Day to Day rather than Spiritual
Trying to please my elders
Rattling off grace, evening prayers
Ritually with no meaning”

Minister sits down nearby.

“When I spent a week in ICU
Hit by a truck on my bike.
A glowing figure in the dark
This book held when I woke”

Somebody laughs unbelievingly

“In camouflaged pocket
When I fell from the sky first time
‘check canopy’ as I overlooked his created beauty
‘prepare to land’ he warned, I walked away”

Somebody wrinkles their nose.

“Still with me in the tropics
Stupidity overcame I ran into a kill zone
Helped another trapped soldier
We both survived”

Somebody walks away disbelieving

“It was with me
In the desert heat, arctic cold;
It has weathered tropical storms and arid wind.
Its words appear with just a touch”

A preppy departs

“I left it behind once walked away
Disappearing into the hustle and bustle
Urban city streets of non-believers
Cold in the night laying on cardboard”

Somebody’s nose rises

“Found again, and I began to climb.
Living by the words of dedication
Written at the beginning of the book
I have no fear”

Somebody’s eye sheds a tear

“This book is like me
Imperfect and worn but still working
It has nothing to prove with glamour and glitz
It does what needs to and goes on”

I finished the book’s story

Opening to the dedication
“The first is, Hear O’ Israel, the Lord our God,
The Lord is One; You shall LOVE the Lord your God,
With all your heart,
And
With all your soul,
And
With all your mind,
And
With all your strength”

“The second is this,
You shall love thy neighbor as thyself,
There are none other commandments greater than these.”
“The Lord God loves us so much he gave his son.”
“We have nothing to prove to him
That isn’t proven by loving one another.”