I didn’t know why
I stopped at the chapel
that afternoon, the sun hitting me between the eyes
as I entered the cool quiet.
I got on my knees
and prayed while the wax dripped
down the cheeks of the Madonna,
candles sputtering weakly.
I knelt for some time,
a prodigal daughter returned at last
to the arms of the father.
Then came the call;
I smelled ashes and the cloying rot
of Easter lilies on the altar—
their cut green stalks gasping,
their white trumpets ablaze,
summoning the angels.