He doesn’t believe in heaven
but from the corner of the room
an inflatable Infant of Prague watches.
It’s about four foot and plastic
and mainly red and white
(made in Asia somewhere)
and shaped like one of those children’s toys
which right themselves when they’re tipped over.
It’s a very large Infant of Prague at that
an almost conical child with its pointy head
and footless rounded body.
He’s been told that to get the most out it, spiritually
it should be set facing the door
and have a couple of pennies placed beneath the base.
Being molded, it doesn’t really have a base
so he’s taped a dollar bill across the bottom
and figures that’ll be okay, maybe even better
because of the extra money. Like everything.
He’s thinking this is a very good case
of one thing or the other.
Either the Infant really is just plastic and sees nothing
or, if there is a heaven, then it may see everything
be aware of everything that happens in this bed and far beyond.
Although he doesn’t believe in this
doesn’t actually believe any part of it
he knows (that is he feels when he isn’t thinking about it)
that somehow by having this almost animated Jesus
facing the door gives him some kind of protection
as though it were tied in to His early warning system or something.
As though He won’t be checking on what goes on inside
but will be on guard against burglars or sneak thieves
against drug addicts coming in the night.
When he considers it long enough
it makes him think that for the most part
that’s what religion is to everybody.
Nothing too personal to do with their own impatience or sin
but an insurance policy against the unbelievable
against the it’ll never happen stuff
like break-ins and car crashes and personal assaults also.
Now he’s playing solitaire
and feeling himself all alone