Church Coffee Hour

An ashen-haired, crepe-faced little lady

with a painted teacup and pink cardigan

corners you by the bookshelf

and commences interrogation.

She squeezes your arm with one be-ringed claw.

Once, twice.

Don't run. It's not polite.

College is going well.

I'm happy here.

I really like the new minister.

How are you?

I'm fine.




Choke back the truth before you're smothered

in white pillows of pity.

Ignore the plasticky skim milk in your tea

and the numbing blandness of white lies

leaving your lips.