by Max Gilman '25 on November 3, 2022
Portfolio Co-Editor


a shovel and a pitchfork
photo creds: pixabay

Content warning: graphic violence 

A shovel exuding the earth,

Harking clouds, splattered in red–

Judging which lays beneath dirt,

God fearing pillar to man,

Searing skies with treacherous stares,

Branded children sway to a hurricane’s wind,

Barely fogging outlines of a justice driven structure.

Eventually the skies may clear,

My grandmother told me,

In an age far gone to most,

We won’t believe our eyes,

The day reality fades to fable…

The man had grown in age,

Of gray hair and monotone stance.

His life was theirs,

A man of faith,

A collar and ten charity bucks brimming back pocket,

Wheat fields ran like an old airplane strip,

Stretching to flatten the world,

Through trees-pine-green and a bit cold.

The man was weary toward the town nowadays,

He knew them sinners,

He knew them cold-like night air,

Brittle with secrets snakily steaming,

Confession occurred almost daily,



He heard how affairs were held,

From wives,


Wives would come in fearing

The distance growing in their marriage


The priest went home to contemplate

The state of his town,

The state of his people,

The sinners,

One day while conferring with a teen,

The priest’s judgment overtook logic,

Fuming at the child’s misdoings—

“A stolen Chevrolet truck and an old dude he barely left

Breathing, after whacking him several times with a brick,”


“I am to forgive this devil?”

Thought the captious collared man,

So, insisted a visit to his woodsy abode,

Deep in forest by the town’s border,

Next to the pond that freezes around November,

There, the collared man gripped his shovel,

A divine right rushed through his veins—

“There is more penance in helping your neighbor than merely speaking a few words.”

So he told the lad,

“Help me dig out this weird root back here-“

A concerned mask stretched the length of the boy’s face,

Though he trusted the pastor,

His parents knew him and he was nice,

Then like a predatory instinct,

The pastor flung a shovel far into the boy’s skull,

Before the two reached the door,

Impaling and spilling red,

And spilling,

And spilling.


The clean up was the grueling part.

“Ten Hail Marys and an Our Father. Oh, and go apologize to that man, if you do end up seeing him again.”

Then the teen left the confession booth,

And the collared man sat uneasy,

Tainted like the sinner,

Dissatisfied, haunted by an acidic thought,

To be the sinner,

To be like “them.”