Dishes washed and dried,
Kitchen floor swept six times,
Countertops polished five,
She rearranges silverware, dusts cabinets.
Father gets another cup of coffee.
“Go on to bed, Martha. If Gabriel toots, it’ll wake you.”
But she refolds the dishrag,
Looks out the window, up.
A phone call this late usually means death,
But this night we know it’s another
Rapture watcher, another Pentecostal
Offering and seeking comfort.
“Them pew-jumpers sure are shook up,” Father says
To me, nine years old, allowed to stay up late this long night.
I hear her flipping pages,
Reading into the phone from Ezekiel, Revelation, Psalms.
Neil Armstrong steps, leaps giantly.
Father announces, “We’re still here, Martha.
No Jesus, no Devil.
Call the preacher and tell him his job’s safe.”
She goes out to sit on the steps.
Later, as the trucks blare on the highway,
I look out my bedroom window to the porch
Where lightning bugs flash
And she still waits,
Staring at the sky,
At its awful sameness.