Sunday morning was so hot
the church bells melted
during the call to prayer.
It was a good thing no one arrived
since the colonial style brick church
turned into a kiln.
Everyone wanted an enemy to blame
so blamed everyone else
heedless of the terrible serpent inside them.
They learned the phrase
The Devil made me do it
counted for naught
as so much sweat poured out of them
that new lakes floated
emaciated bodies by the hundreds.
That night the prayed-for relief
arrived in the guise of snow
which powdered bodies
like an eighteenth century
with lips painted a deeper shade of red.
copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney