Why Nine-Toe Willy Stopped Going to Church


By Jimmmy Pappas
The Pastor pointed at Willy on Easter Sunday
and told us about a new body coming our way
on the day of judgment. Even Willy, he said,
will have ten toes so he can hop out of bed
in a graceful fashion. We patted his back
in unison, a joint expression with no lack
of compassion. Willy just stared at the cross
while listening to his father laughing like a horse.
After the service, I asked him what was wrong.
He just ignored me and kept singing that song
about Wolverton Mountain by Claude King
till he nodded at the church, I don’t need this thing.
Most people have to deal with personal woes,
but Willy is perfectly happy with only nine toes.
Jimmy Pappas served during the Vietnam War as an English language instructor training South Vietnamese soldiers. Jimmy received his BA in English at Bridgewater State University and an MA in English literature from Rivier University. He is a retired teacher whose poems have been published in many journals, including Yellowchair Review, Rattle, Shot Glass Journal, Off the Coast, Boston Literary Magazine, and War, Literature and the Arts. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Poetry Society of NH. He was one of ten finalists in the 2017 Rattle Poetry Contest.