Jan 142011

by Marty Silverthorne

The midnight nurse was tired of my

moaning for Jesus. He turned away

from prayers and feverish cries, asked

me not to call on God while he sponged

my burning body. I listened to him

denounce my baptismal beliefs. He taught

me skepticism with an ice bath. Sun rose

over his shoulder, the cooling mattress

broke the fever. He disappeared at daybreak.

Black ladies on morning rounds came humming

spirituals, nurses and orderlies singing,

“Take it to the Lord in prayer.” I no longer cared

for leftover sermons or Bible quoting housekeepers

who promised mustard seed miracles if I would

believe. Lukewarm services could not extinguish

the words of the man working graveyard shift

who helped me drift from salvation’s doorstep.