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Susan Sims

About this Christian Poet:
I spent most of my childhood in Willowdale, Ontario until moving to Louisiana at the age of fourteen. I now live in northern New Mexico where I'm raising three children with my husband, and working on a master's degree in English. I've been writing poetry since the morning in second grade (or grade two if you're Canadian) when I woke up with a poem in my head. Since becoming a Christian four years ago, my passion for poetry as a vehicle of the Holy Spirit continues to deepen.

The Sexton

He leaves to mind his pews with keys
that jangle from his belt-loop on a trinity
of rings. The church itself is huge, a city

block, surrounded by a moat of one-way
streets. He daily strides the corridors
and handles everything—raw sewage to

communion juice—in every room to which
he carries keys. The church belongs to him
and he to it, more than to the pastors

or the crusty tea-ladies who decorate
for holidays and funerals, more than
to the children in the basement. Once,

he signed up for a study group, a Bible
exploration team led by Reverend Russ
himself, but the old dark women in the

kitchen whispered he was trying to get in
good—Who does he think he is, just because
he's white. And so he stayed away

from all events for members, except
to clean up afterwards, lock and unlock doors,
and prepare the table he would not share;

instead he saved a Bible from the lost-
and-found, brought it home and read it,
from "In the beginning" to the Second Coming.

Now it's late at night on Saturday, he goes
to set the alarm and pull old messages
of goings-on from pews in the empty

sanctuary. He must be sure that all
is perfect Sunday morning, but more,
he needs to be inside with God alone.

                   Copyright©2002 by Susan Sims