The Padre's age invades his dextral knee
and locks it at the moment he would rise.
"A sign!" he thinks. He whispers, "Glory be,"
renews his kneeling, and, to emphasise
his homage to this thought, shuts both his eyes.
He says the prayers a moment can recall
then, signing off, stands up to quickly fall
afoul of superstition and the lock
of his patella's closing down and all
the Padre's will is sapped by sudden shock.
"Perhaps the angels took me at my word
when I confessed ennui from dining out
on lines at which the Bard Himself demurred.
I'll flirt with death but cannot stomach gout
and to take me literally's absurd."
He bows perforce until a heavenly band
charms his meniscus to where he can stand
the pain if not up to his normal height.
Then Padre shakes, not takes, the proffered hand
that Heaven offers, and says, "Thanks. Goodnight."