'Jesus loves you.' 

The first sister is kindness. 

 

Some take one of the Santa-hatted disciple's 

creased leaflets, others mumble an apology.

He's begun - let's be honest - a little apologetic himself

but soon proclaims, 'Jesus will save you,' 

repeats it, 'Jesus will save you,' 

then again, 'Jesus will save you,' 

rhythmic, 'Jesus will save you,' 

regular, 'Jesus will save you,' 

warming to his task, 'Jesus will save you,'

stentorian now, 'Jesus. Will.  Save. You.' 

No-one laughs. 

The second sister is respect.

 

I don't believe I can be saved. 

The third sister is fear.

 

And the day is Sunday-cold

and the polite whites from their Thursday-dull suburbs

are arriving, coffee-filled and Saturday-scarved. 

The Rasta steps aside for the Hassidic family. 

The scrawny Pole takes another drag.

The old schizophrenic man grins.

The fourth sister is hope. 

 

'Jesus will save you.' 

'Why don't you give your heart to Jesus?'

'He doesn't want you to perish.'

But I will perish, at least before we win the league, 

regardless of what Jesus wants. 

And I will perish before...

The fifth sister is truth. 

 

'You just need to repent of your sins.'

'I wish I bloody could,' I try to say to him.

The sixth sister is guilt. 

 

'You need to repent. That's the bottom line,'

he says, looking at me, looking away, job done,

stuffing leaflets into pockets,

heading off towards Manor House. 

There is no seventh sister.