Old Man at the Byzantine Church
Trim, well-dressed, an icon of dignity,
the old widower frequents the second-to-last pew.
Wrinkles cut like gorges through
his deeply tanned face as he turns and says
"A jokester!" of the new priest who
makes stray comments at the end of liturgy
that rarely strike me as funny.
"A jokester!" a Sunday later,
whether as compliment or rebuke I cannot tell,
his voice heavily accented and expression unreadable
in a man who came from the Old Country in 1945.
He listens to Mozart before Liturgy and
sings the Slavonic verses during
perhaps because there are enough to sing the English.