he spends his lonely days

locked in the rectory,

staring out frosted windows.

he gorges himself

on bitter communion wine.

no one asks where it has gone.

each sunday,

communion wafers

taste like ash in his mouth.

his booming voice becomes a whisper.

he yearns for love.

the touch of another.

he spends his hours on his knees,

hands clasped in prayer.

he has one-sided conversations

with god.

his cassock billows

as he shrinks into himself.

he looks for a sign

in the bible, in the cross

in the eyes of jesus

at the bottom of a bottle

he finds none.