Richard Wells

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Matt 17: 1-13

Erie, Pennsylvania,

corporate living room,

Nat King Cole
providing background
in competition with
grinding coffee
and steaming milk,

I’m pondering
a biblical summit meeting:

Christ transfigured,
locked in conversation
with Moses and Elijah,

but what they’re talking about –
I don’t know.

At the table
next to mine

a gray-haired
heavy set
black man
has made himself at home
with crossword puzzles, newspapers,
and a brown, leather bound Bible – prominent.

I have a feeling
he’ll know
and won’t mind
my asking:

“Excuse me, sir, are you a student of scripture?”


“Jesus on the mountain;
Peter, James, and Andrew.
Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah–
what were they talking about?”

“Mathew 17,” he said.

“Peter, James, and John,” he corrected;
“Jesus was thanking them
for paving the way, and promising them
he would continue the work.”

“The work? What work?”

“Redemption, son. It’s all about redemption.”

And that was that.

And a matter of fact;

even as Nat King Cole
lost his baby
and almost lost his mind,

even in Erie, Pennsylvania,

even at Starbucks:

It’s all about


After a brush with the Grim Reaper at age seven, Richard Wells sat down at his family’s Remington, and started his autobiography.  In one form or another, that’s what he’s been writing ever since.  He’s published here and there in print, and on the web, and his first book, Sideways through Zion, has recently been published under the Embajadoras Press imprint.  It can be found at all the Amazon websites, and by order at your local bookstore. Richard and his wife, Reggie Bardach, live in Seattle, WA.

Photo credit: “*” by Eka Shoniya, via

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One comment

  1. Hi Richard, I enjoyed your poem. I was published in the last issue of “Heart of Flesh” and I live in Erie, Pennsylvania. I’m curious to know if you’re from here?


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