Hiram Nichols’ Epiphany

A fella named Hiram Nichols,
Who hadn’t been north of
Valdosta or south of
Jacksonville, and who
Won an award from the FFA
In the tenth grade and
Rode shotgun on the
Ambulance that took
Senator Hankins to the
Talmadge Trauma Center after
Bambi Sledge winged him
Outside the courthouse
As he passed by in the
Fourth of July parade,
And rebuilt the engine
Of his ‘68 Camaro
And could play the
Opening riff on Pretty Woman
As smooth as just about anybody,
Had an epiphany at the crossroads
East of town one midnight while
Waiting like Robert Johnson
For the gift of being an electric bass
Virtuoso, getting instead
A helping of the Holy Spirit,
And quit his job
At the Texaco and
Found his momma’s Bible
And found a congregation
That would have him
And became Reverend Nichols
And in that role preached a sermon
One summer at the fairgrounds revival
That so moved Tommie Jean Raymond
As she stood on the bridge
Over the shoals and heard
Him through the tent speakers
That she didn’t jump.
She just went home, had three kids,
Including Joe, who grew
Up to be the sheriff that
Rescued Marvin Chalmers
When his eighteen-wheeler
Jackknifed and caught fire
On the interstate.

This piece appears in the Naugatuck River Review.