Friday, February 12, 2010

Station - a poem. Finally.


Pitted blue glass windows
line the church aisles.
Centered in each window
a square panel depicts
one Station of the Cross:
gilt figures on black slate.

Sundays after Mass, her
Grandmother walked through
the Stations, rosary
looped over her hands,
the skin silk-smooth, loose
on the bones. The kids
would all wait in the car,
impatient for the ritual’s end.

One station: Jesus carries His Cross.
Another, He falls the first time.
He meets His mother. A murmur
accompanied the beads’ clicking.

On Fridays in Lent the upper
grades attended observance
of the Stations together.
The censer would swing gently
on its chain. Wisps of incense rose
with the priest’s thin voice:
eloi, eloi, lama sabachtani

Someone might faint
or pretend to in
the close hungry afternoon.

The priest and the altar boy attendants
moved on to the next one: Jesus dies.
He is laid in the tomb.

Between panels, the light streams in.

She tries again to repent

wonders whether peace
would come if she made
confession, if she knelt down on
marble at the communion rail
or shed penitent’s tears.
She waits in the shadow of
the great crucifix above her.

She would pray: Jesus
how You suffered,
make me good.
With thorns or a whip
or with nails
make me forget
this longing.

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