The National Catholic Review
Dennis O'Donnell

Sacks of rocks
I have gathered from the beach,
some of which I used to toss
my own I Ching, stones representing
fire, water, wind, and the rest,
some of them with strange,
man-like markings, like circles,
probably formed by little pools of sea water,
dried by the sun, leaving behind
a round stain of salt.

Stacks of poems, sacks of rocks,
milk crates full of books
full of baloney:
I can’t let them go, not yet,
but I lie in bed and plead with God
to empty out my past, all of it,
at least all of the bad,
set me free, flush out
all the shame and rage and heartache,
but please, not the finger-paints,
not baseball and my best friends.

Deal, He says,
but all the rocks must go.
No tarot cards, and no metaphysical bull.

Fine, I say.
I have a look at my bookcase.
I see Rumi, Suzuki, Lao Tzu,
and two Bibles. So:
who will throw the first stone?

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