In the middle of what I had assumed to be
a Vacation Bible School lesson,
this tough little black boy says:
"I eats dimes. I et 4 1/2 dimes so far."
Gregory, how do you eat 1/2 a dime?
"They tastes bitter, go down slow at first."
(The boy next to him begins to say
that he, too, eats dimes. Gregory
escalates his claims.)
"I eats balloons, too. And one time
I et a quarter."
3 weeks ago I baptized Gregory.
Now I'm wondering about his first communion.
What will be the chemistry
as God confronts Mammon in his gut,
the realm of dimes invaded by the eucharist?
Two days later:
Gregory, you didn't really eat dimes, did you?
"Nope. I et pennies."
You ate pennies?
"Yep. I useda eat pennies for dessert.
I et 6 pennies a day."
6 pennies a day! How long did you do that?
"I started when I was 3 and stopped when I was 6."
His worth is incalculable.
Dennis Jacobsen served as pastor of a black congregation in a low-income area of Jersey City, New Jersey when this poem appeared. His parable "The Net of Complicity" appeared in the January, 1981 Sojourners.