Catholic Distance University

The Same

Leah Acosta
It is the same.
The twisted strands . . . 
	of barbed wire, flesh now torn
	of plaited curls, freshly shorn
	of woven briars, crown of thorn.
The bruised reed . . . 
	freely blowing, sown in the distant sod
	trampled underfoot, by pris'ners heavy trod
	plucked, unbroken in the Son of God. [Read more...]

Holy Matrimony (Anniversary in Colonial Williamsburg)

Roger Mitchell

Watch the cooper resume
his old manufacture,
how the hollowing knife
will carve perfect volume
from imperfect nature.
So we two, man and wife,
embraced like oaken staves,
these golden rings our hoops,
this common life our cask,
have joined our tapered selves. [Read more...]

Maritime

 I. The Cornucopia

Emerging cold and desperate, his whiting breath
Trails behind him like the old ship’s own signature
Disgorged in blunt belchings of smoke from its belly
Through a single squat stack piping up the trying pots.
The wit-starved whaler tells his hunger-angry crew:
Sing a tune from groggy memory; desires supply the words.
There’s the sea and he scans it like a line of poetry [Read more...]

Absent Friends

Fiorella de Maria

For the staff and sisters of the St Joseph Hospital, Jerusalem
I never thought I would be too afraid
To contact an old friend. My hand reaches
For the telephone but I find myself drawing
Back in case the lines have been torn down
Or your number belongs to a stranger now,
Speaking a language I cannot share. And
For all I know, the letter I keep trying to write
Will be left on a doorstep without a house
Left standing behind it. Or it will lie in some
Depot somewhere with all the other post
Whose owners are not there now to lay
Claim to them. [Read more...]

This Is Only a Test

Roger Mitchell
If the TV stares back in blank silence
without even so much as a message
from our sponsors, do not take it askance.
Black static flies like a flag over this age.
Salute and report for duty, be distracted,
for to be distracted is the noblest aim
(so long as GDP is not impacted). [Read more...]

Well

Michael Schorsch
my church is sending me
to Mexico

it was autumn of course
a deviled egg

and the three of us shared
some rye bread

the river was already frozen

Ina, I
have resolved to become a religious man

Our Father

Joseph O’Brien

His head is weathered to the rain-greyed granite you can find
Bald and cropping the turf on any old Irish hillside. His eyes, in kind,
Are as hazel as the bay of Galway’s own self.

His smile, though, is straight from a Hoboken bar,
Arresting you with the no-nonsense laugh a Jersey City cop lives for 
As he asks you, almost prayerfully, to put up your hands. [Read more...]

Per Annum

Joseph O’Brien

Time takes miles from life, years rolling out, tolling mpg’s,
From a perpetually restless motor. The past, awkward and unwieldy,
Is a highway map folded in confusion’s haste.
It goes too far back for me to follow.
You become an absence, the might of a subjunctive ghost,
Expected as a radio station
And the time and place its fading signal finally dies. [Read more...]

Tumult

Gabriel Olearnik

Outlanders are the salvation of shapes
the tailored jut of shoulders
the square thighs
face-handlebars
centaur-pilots half a century ago. [Read more...]

Irish Wake

Joseph O’Brien

for Patrick Slattery

And with the clashing of their sword-blades make A rapturous music, till the morning break...
--W.B. Yeats

We’re a nation of all talk, recording
The story of our blood, registering
Our complaints against Land, Lord and Love
According to the latest government,
Counting past grudges and future graces 
On our beads and in our pews as from the isles. [Read more...]
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