In the depths of Covid-19, Easter services arrive like Uber-eats delivered straight to our lounge-rooms. We settle on the couch, PCs lit with on-line liturgies. Strange at first as UFOs landing, they’re welcomed anyway. Our dogs beside us sit alert, the only time they’ve been allowed in church. I watch them watching the screen. They’re interested in the parable of the lost bone, though the big show’s yet to come with the rolling of the stone. They do not care for that. They want the Canine Gospels — the stories of long walks, the Samaritan’s ball that’s always thrown, and the cat that didn’t get away. Then it’s their perfect communion, extra serves of food and forgiveness for the prodigal hound. When all this darkness lifts, the deaths and quarantine, all churches must have dogs. They belong, if not for Christian faith then for their sheer loyalty, sitting beside us with a simple capacity to attend unto the sermon’s droning end, amen.
Steve Evans writes fiction, poetry and nonfiction. He has written or edited 17 books (eight of poetry), most recently Easy Money and Other Stories in 2019 and the poetry collection Unearthly Pleasures in 2021, and has won national prizes. He was previously Head of English at Flinders University where he ran the Creative Writing Program.