THE HOLY PROFESSIONS by Ryan Griffith

THE HOLY PROFESSIONS by Ryan Griffith

Universal Plumber

All things float on absence. Cemeteries, helicopters, butcher shops. Without crawl space a house cannot exist. The sky no longer speaks to us, it’s beyond our reception, so I must go down to the rodent deep. Goggled I descend into your miasma, stinking of rot, emptiness. I reach into midnight and touch lost rings, shattered glass, expiration dates. There’s enough clogged hair to build a new human, one who believes in the plunger, the snake, the possibility that our channels will flow free. 

 

Infinity Pool

There are days of floating that never seem to end. Kids scream Marco and wait, plunging into a new philosophy of blue. We hold our breath in a contest for God. The game won’t end and I must drop my chemicals, sweep my net through the buoyancies of time. Each small baptism will save us, the tender, those who reach for the call of Polo. Their parents are in upper rooms forever changing, voices miraculous as opera. The earth is June bugs, chlorine, gravity.  

 

Western Exterminator

Nothing is too small to kill. God gave us insecticides, vast prairies, indomitable will. Pyrethins and Pyrethoids. The Silverfish Doctrine was total extinction. We sprayed our vapors, we smote the roach, we gutted and ground them into soup. Our American toxins were strong. In military onesies and sharptoothed boots we marched forward, dusting their young. God gives poison to those who believe. And now, dear friends, let us eradicate.   

 

Divine Lawn

We are dust, we are mud. There are grasses that sway like dervishes, whirling in desire, in the fragrance of their chaos. Tongue of God in thistle, in milkweed, in crabgrass. We will return as fertilizer, the faithful of the mulch. I circle you with my shears, observing all your angles. The spin can make you dizzy. We are dirt and rebirth, the flower and the worm. In the end God will see us entire, as through the compound eyes of dragonflies. 

 

Transcendent Pet

The sheep are counting insomniacs. In the first neutered light something rises, a litter of kittens brilliant in the sky, Ragamuffins and Abyssinians and Russian Blues. Our ancestors splashed their hands on caves, chanting bison, chanting wolves. They wrote librettos with hamster wheels. They knitted Doodles and Cockapoos. Like them, we yip and yap and howl. The night shakes its fur and we fall purring into this world.  


Ryan Griffith’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Frog, Monkeybicycle, Flash Boulevard, New World Writing, Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions of 2012 and 2022, Best Microfiction 2023, and elsewhere. He runs a multimedia narrative installation in San Diego called Relics of theHypnotist War.

Read Next: ACHE by Josh Denslow