I’m alone now.
My scoured body is draped and ready,
Like a sacrifice to an Aztec god.
Minions scurry round in faceless silence,
Making no contact, preparing for the ceremony.
Why won’t he acknowledge me?
Why hide behind the mask? — oh, I forget:
He must protect himself from me ;
I am dangerous to him, even as I lie,
Immobile as a corpse, on this narrow, padded slab.
Is he imagining the motions
He must make, step by step,
The bloody path he must follow?
Or squinting at the memory of someone’s
Burnished hair swirling on the adjacent pillow?
In this place he is my rock and my salvation,
And the last man I may ever see,
Floating above me, surprising as an angel.
Is this what God’s gatekeeper is like:
Indifferently awaiting the next supplicant in line?
He will carry out the task with
Impassive efficiency, with robotic precision,
Then step back, arms folded, and wait again.
I will see him afterwards, his halo gone,
Smiling automatically from above;
And we will part, never having truly met.