Donal Mahoney


Ecumenical Fellow Arrested And Charged - Poem by Donal Mahoney

The police have announced
the arrest of an ecumenical fellow
who in less than two weeks

in the middle of the night set fire
to seven churches in St. Louis.
Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran,

Pentecostal—if they hadn’t
caught the man, he might still
be incensing the skies.

An accelerant-sniffing dog
and a video camera led to his arrest.
Charges were quickly filed.

The first six churches are black
congregations. The seventh
is largely white but some thought

it was burned to distract the cops
because of the location of the churches.
Some media suggested a racial component.

The cops said that although no motive
has been established, no hate crime
in this strange case has occurred.

The culprit is black but apparently hate's
not required to burn Christian churches
if no synagogue or mosque is involved.

Topic(s) of this poem: crime, fires, race, social comment


Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem is based on a news story in St. Louis, Missouri reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, October 31, 2015

Poem Edited: Friday, May 20, 2016


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