The Old Woman in ICU

The old woman in ICU wants to rail against the Church.

Patriarchy, she says, hierarchy, and I agree.

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She looks just like my mother.

But you’re dying, I say.

Why are we talking about this?

Why does any of this matter?

And the sun slants through the dusty window.

My Roman collar chafes.

On the monitor, the peaks and valleys

of her failing heart.

May I give you communion? I ask her.

And she says, would that mean I’d have to come back

to the Church?

No, I say. No. It will be our little secret.

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