Elegy for Butch

by Phil Flott

A dizzying hot day
A pneumatic nail gun
Shot me in the foot.
My hand on the ‘hair’ trigger,
I’d bumped the gun on my boot.
That drove a three-inch nail
Through my toe.
I rolled on my back,
The nail sticking out my sole,
Bloodless, painless
Those first few seconds.
“Will you back this out?”
I asked cousin Butch,
Who usually worked
As relaxed as he partied.
He looked at me,
Blood drained from his tanned face.
He gritted his teeth,
Concentrated his carpentry skills
To back the pain of steel out.
He clawed it,
Separated me from anodized steel.

I was saved,
Flesh freed from pain.

For his action of love,
I asked the Father
To redeem Butch’s life.

In his final sickness,
I visited Butch in the hospital.
Flat on his back,
His dark eyes appealed to the Savior
Who, snatching the residuals
Of sin from Butch,
Freed him into life eternal.

“By the nails that pierced his flesh he destroyed the foundations of hell.” – Basil of Seleucia


Phil Flott is a retired Catholic priest.  He has recently been published in Poetic Sun, Vita Poetica, In Time of Singing, and many others.

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