The Broad and Narrow Way

By William Miller

In our living room,
there was a picture of Hell.

It hung above the couch,
where anyone could see it,
read its dark message.

On the right, a highway
was crowded with
people drinking from
bottles, falling down,
laughing.

Hell itself was many flames,
a dark city with
black towers …

My dad drank beer
in his favorite chair,
watched TV
and ignored us.

My mother sat with
an open bible on her lap,
“The Words of Jesus in Red.”

My grandmother lived
with us too.
Her husband shot
himself because
he had seen such
bad things in the war,
“stick people”
and “ovens.”
My grandmother drank
many drinks
on shaky legs,
said she’d kill
herself if she only
had a gun …

But there was another
way, beside the broad
way to Hell.

A tiny pilgrim
climbed a narrow,
mountain road.

It led to golden lights,
little angels circling …

My parents divorced;
my grandmother
married a man who drank
as much as she did …
And I see that picture still,
have walked both ways
but not the middle.

In Hell, there is a picture
of our living room.

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