Undercover: A Poem

No one knew my secret before today.

I sat at the counter

Ate eggs over-medium (with pepper)

Hid behind a magazine

And under a baseball cap.

The cook fried bacon.

The waitress brewed coffee.

Lost in the ritual of breakfast

Where jukebox blues sang over my text alert

I was simply a diner

Like the guy next to me.

He asked what I did for a living

And I almost lied

But the bluesman said something

About Jesus' crying

And so I chose the truth

Which is supposed to set you free.

I am a minister.

I braced for the typical response to my call:

A theological question about a good God

Working in a bad world

A prayer request

A story of hurt and redemption.

I wish I could go to church.

But I work every Sunday.

From our bar-stooled pews

We listened to the anthem:

Clatter of fork on plate

Beeping of stove timer

Tear of ticket from pad

The longing song of the bluesman.

We sat side by side exposed:

Confessing who we were

Admitting our longings

Lamenting reality.

And like incense the smells of syrup and burned toast

Drew us beyond ourselves

Into a conversation with God and about God 

And I wondered why we

Priesthood of believers try so hard to hide

Who we really are.