I asked John Dean what he saw the night he jumped
off the True Baptist church bell.
He stayed up there long enough for the fire fighters
to fling a trampoline, some kind of thing, under him.
And he seemed happy enough that night, in a swan dive,
in a fine leap, with his hands raised & folded like
a prayed up swimmer.
He said he saw the tail lights of a thousand cars,
all of them leaving town, in a straight line.
He said he saw Preacher Barrett in a sports jacket,
and what appeared to be a dozen, black shielded shadows
gathered round a swimming pool & he thought,
damn, that looks small! but he jumped anyway because,
somehow he hated to pass the torch, and set a bad example,
since he was the only one up there, up for the dive.