A priest goes to a village in Alaska
to anoint a dying man. Maybe he flies there
in a Cessna. But he’s forgotten
the Oil of the Sick—he left it on the counter
in the sacristy, hundreds of miles away—
and when he asks the son for what he has
he brings him a can of Valvoline.
Forty-weight. But the priest goes ahead.
He anoints the man with motor oil,
forgiving his sins and getting him ready
to die, wiping off the excess
with a paper towel. It’s not a problem.
All the way home he’s smiling,
bumping along in the low clouds.