on arriving unexpectedly at the pearly gates (20170528)

i try to turn and make my way back
the hands are firm on my shoulders
and pull me toward clouds like columns
drag me, really, but my feet
rip through the cool cumulus
like it’s cotton candy

i swat at the hands
but we pick up speed
soon we will be through
those gates
which will close irrevocably

i imagine all those people
i spent so much time avoiding
and now they’re all in there
my shirt is covered in sins
like stains from every
spaghetti dinner i ever ate

every misstep plain as day
written on me
written on my clothes
tattooed on my face
a small greek chorus rushes behind me
trying to keep up
strolling left to right to left
everything i have ever done

i am convinced the same thing
happens in hell
but everyone there refuses to hide
their disappointment
but here they will make excuses for you
you won’t have to defend yourself
but the damn greek chorus
refuses to shut up
and my mouth fills with clouds