Churches without steeples line the road.
Buildings Methodist and Pentecostal pass my view
as the car radio blasts out Johnny Cash.
It’s not just any tune by Cash, but
a religious classic recorded near his death,
“When the Man Comes Around.”
Despite the apocalyptic images in the song
I see only one church that boasts the name
Holiness, and none mention “Signs Following.”
My mind is on that book, Salvation on Sand Mountain
as one other church boasts a “No Denominational” sign,
but I still see no indication of snake handlers.
I can’t blame those folks if they’re circumspect.
Strangers might confuse their services with theater,
though one should never make a circus of another’s beliefs.
If its rattlesnakes you want, I once photographed a beauty
crawling along the roadside on another mountain, up near Mentone.
Big around as my forearm, she must have been pregnant.
A fellow naturalist once took a program to a church in Chattanooga.
She delighted the audience with hawks and owls.
At the harmless blacksnake, someone shouted,
“Wait, it’s not that kind of church.”