Blue smoke rose out of the Vatican chimney
then fireworks—big color-filled splashes
in the sky. People crossed themselves.

The clang of crucifixes against worn beads
on rosaries pulled in panic from pockets was
so loud that nuns donned earmuffs in July.

A pilgrim, convinced that his self-induced
nocturnal emissions had caused this vaporous
aberration destroyed both patellae

on his penitent crawl across the sacred
span of St. Peter’s Square. The Faithful
were flummoxed! After the Pole,

the German, and the dangerous Argentinian,
they’d prayed for a return to calm, for the
ascension of a simple man with a name like

Giovani, Paulo, Amedio, or Giuseppe, but
now they quivered wide-eyed with terror as
rockets soared. Clearly a mysterium tremendum.

What rough beast did these pyrotechnics
portend? What prophecy propelled them?
How vicious the Vicar’s voice?

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