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Brett Foster

The Escape of Lapsing

My grad-school buddy started taking
his kids to the local Catholic church
because his wife, a lapsed Catholic,
wanted them to become just enough
Catholic so that one day they, too,
could grow up to be lapsed Catholics,
to know the enjoyment of outgrowing
something so oddly fashioned and old.
How satisfying the lapsing feels, I guess,
to leave the past behind as the winds
pick up, ushering in fresher freedoms,
and how buoyant it must make you feel,
rising above all of the sad bungling
going on these days, above all the ideas
themselves, being rid of them, so dusty
the way a TV repair shop is always dusty,
with its windows unwashed, and broken
lettering on the faded storefront sign
that the proprietor would not once think
to consider "vintage." It's advantageous
to keep moving on, maneuver through
the shop's service area with its hospice
situation of deep-bodied televisions,
various sizes of cathode tubes, displayed
on a table like an organ harvest in progress.
There is finally no need to feel anything
resembling sympathy here, even if
it once seemed that each outdated apparatus
would shrivel up beneath the insistent,
belittling light that is your own individual
star-power and prerogative. What else
could you have wanted, been led to expect?
But every question lives with its secret
corridors, its Guy Fawkes mask. So, to play
momentarily the advocate, what other bonds
could be set aside, too, before in an instant
they are consecrated, are canonized
for being personally yours? Few among us
would really want to accept that invitation,
stop by that party. Its inverse is the invitation
of all genuine churches: "Come die with us."

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