When I see another

wide open doorway,

in Port St. Joe, I cringe,

it’s my church on

Monument and Highway 98.

 

The square entrance

foyer mirror hangs

diamond shaped

by one wet salty nail.

 

Inside, with no defined aisle,

the once bayside pews

crisscross atop

the landside pews.

 

Gooey black storm surged sludge

slides me past empty

stained glass window ghosts

where now I see

blue sky and St. Joe Bay.

 

Outside, displaced like a giant

toppled jigsaw puzzle,

the loosened and scattered

rotunda bricks reveal no

inked heartfelt messages

on the sand blasted

concrete floor.

 

Raging winds and

hurricane tidal waves

somehow missed

the tent like overhang

next to the kids’

intact jungle gym,

 

but punched the bayshore

home walls and doors

straight through the parsonage,

front to back, leaving no walls,

no furniture, no piano,

no nothing.

 

My pastor, walking alone,

head held low, circles, pokes

and prods anything left

in the outside debris piles that

could be worth saving.

 

Seeing me with my camera

he motions for me to look inside.

Camouflaged near the door

on the dirty uncarpeted

cement, I spot a silty,

grey, silver cross.

 

“Geoffrey look!”

 

He exclaims,

“It’s my commissioning cross!”

 

Its tangled chain, jammed

in a cement crack holds tight.

 

“Just pull it,” he says.

 

“No, I can get it.”

 

I twist, twirl, and turn it

every which way

careful not to break

the chain, then one last

wiggle and a big tug

frees it.

 

Geoffrey smiles, takes off his hat

and with no words spoken,

I hang the cross around his neck.

 

God’s grace fills us both.