The Man Who Works In The Catacombs


Ink and watercolor on paper, 2011

The Man Who Works In The Catacombs *

The man who works in the catacombs

Said that he caught some tourist, a young man

Kicking the bones.

 Just because you buy a ticket do you think that gives you the right to kick at bones?

 He shook his head.

 Does he think God does not see down here?

If that is what people are becoming up there, I don’t know, maybe I prefer it down here.

I have been working here for ten years.

…Ten years.

 He shook his head. 

 I have another job.

Up there.

I don’t have to do this job, but-

Ten years…

 He was just a guard.

He had a flashlight and a badge.

He was there in case someone, a tourist, became overwhelmed.

By the bones.

By the dark.

By the low, dripping ceilings.

By their own mortality.

 He was just a guard.

But after ten years I think he qualified

As a priest.

Paris, Spring, 2011.


 * also appears in Pure Slush at




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