The National Catholic Review

Poem

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  • December 5-12, 2016
    The honest power of a winter-shocked sun is doing its best but it still looks like the scarce light is coming from the blue. The sky among the clouds is like chipped paint— nothing is falling, though. Face your fears, they said. I remember trying to forget all about that but here I am, peering over a stinging-cold rail into calm, ample water from way up. Not too high to obscure the reflection. I am facing my face facing my fear of death as night’s black ambulance rushes the day off. That’s fine...
  • November 28, 2016
    After the agony and humiliation of crucifixion, would you be willing to give up the cold comfort of death for the pain of rebirth and the cell-splitting joy of glory?
  • November 14, 2016
    In the wind I lose the tumble of bone-white rocks down the hillside in summer, a new lad missing his footing or a goat scrabbling for parched grass. Instead I linger over receding mountains that rush high and fast out of the water, the light sweeping up from dark waves. My brother’s glowing face. Over the heavy breath of men grinding oars comes the slap of wet on wood, like the head of a Greek that once slipped from my hands in the temple’s torchlight. I’d searched his face for Mycenae’s wild...
  • October 31, 2016
    So near holidays. For now, celebrate their nearness. Brush the cat hair off of coats, collect the hackberry leaves. Winter threatens is unfair; it menaces like sleep, like hunger. Cheer a killing frost but mourn the lettuce, the orchid you snap, an accident, not meaning to be an ender. Less time now for repairs, only so much skin left on your hands. Ants arrive in rivulets. Psylla are born, borne on the backs of leaves; host them once they’ve left their elder. Make space for succulents on the...
  • October 17, 2016
    Sky grey as gunmetal, cross breeze cold front raw and cutting from the west, afternoon light thin and abstinent. This has become our November, month when I sit down to write some catastrophe of a poem on the warm broth, sage and lemon stuffed autumn bird small fingerling, loose leaf dragonwell long tongued wafer that is my pleasure of you. All of this aspires to cook and feed fingertip to tonguepoint the coming of last apple jam against the evergreen tip blight outside. There is a roasting pan...
  • October 10, 2016
    Lord: it is time. Bright summer fades away. Let sundials darken as your shadows grow. Set loose your winds across the open fields. Let the last fruit still ripen on the vine, And give the grapes a few more southern days To warm them to perfection, and then press Their earthy sweetness into heavy wine. Whoever has no house now never builds one. Whoever is alone now stays alone. Now he will wake and read, writing long letters, Aimlessly wandering the empty lanes, Restless as the leaves swirling...
  • September 26, 2016
    At the Edge of the Mississippi After years of watching a brick-lined horizon, I returned to the river’s tattered body, listened for a murmur to surface, to remind me that hope once abandoned can be regained. There were no flowers along the riverbank, no ducks resting in the mud, only a shadow cast by the highway overpass and some crows scurrying about the sidewalk for crumbs. What might have been a prayer was a boat gurgling in the distance, and the murky water veiled those pleas the history...
  • September 19, 2016
    Why did you welcome it into the house? Numb in the coffers of discounted bulbs, it seemed so harmless— Blind as a doorknob, intimating green. But coddled indoors, it pillared overnight, and pursued the sun, fattening its five uneven sacks of flame. It knew our natures, and had come to ready its own kingdom. In the midst of our domestic exhibit, all the souvenirs of ceramic, brass, dyed glass, and silver plate that you positioned for a sensuous curve or gleam become amateurs: the foolish...
  • August 29-September 6, 2016
    On the first day, I didn’t know it was the first day. The second, third and fourth passed. And on the eighth day something remarkable, but I didn’t tell anyone. Remarkable, and I didn’t know. I noted some markers like weekends and seasons, anonymous months. No one else attended every day of the long long time but some noticed the unclenching. Evening and morning came, the 90th day. Some days later, in an afternoon walk, beauty opened and I inhaled. Religion preceded and followed and did no harm...
  • August 15-22, 2016
    Home water, why? Cold sunlight, new heaven strikes the shallows of white, wavering tissue, new earth. They are here, gaining the still pool, a million salmon bones. Soul flood. Head down. Study this hieroglyph, stunned. Metal-skinned swimmers crash from the hurtling channel to this blinding delta, where mission waterships spawn, explode, and sail free. Read the message flashing off fins; stare, wall-eyed, while all is changed. All things change by degrees, entering new atmosphere. Some break...