Our Lord Stubs His Toe

David A. Welch

The shock of it
tested my human will
years before my Hour
came

Father
it is a small thing
compared to the immolation
you formed my patience for
and for which my Heart
burns

Grief
and mercy abound
as I contemplate a sinner
dashing his foot upon a
stone and cursing
me

Plenary Indulgence

Sister Maria Frassati Jakupcak, O.P.

And I, too, midway upon my journey
am struck to see so many soles undone,
unlaced, uninhabited, travelers
purged of all unnecessary trappings
prepared to meet the great all-seeing eye,
waiting serpentine, impatient; dreading
the searching hands of a glaring Virgil.

Homebound yet helpless, I suffer my fate
in practiced resignation till—Behold!
A shining Beatrice guides my feet, shod,
unbelieving, through the gate of peace.
Free!
I climb, stunned, into an undeserved
empyrean, praising God for life, health,
and the mercy of TSA pre-check.

The Ship Inside

James Robinson

Somewhere in Atlantic City,
Dorothy Allen is wiping down
the brassy arm of a slot machine
with the sleeve of her nightgown,
then sliding her quarters through
its narrow mouth.
The silver slits of those machines
had already swallowed half her fortune.
She worked in a light bulb factory for 50 years,
from 17 to 67, sticking filaments in glass balloons.
She never broke a single one.
And after work, she sat beside
a busted television set,
sliding miniature ships into empty wine bottles.
She had about a thousand before the fire,
when, as it always seems to happen,
a little flame became a bigger flame,
which coiled up a curtain,
then sprawled across the walls and ceiling,
swallowing her world.
The fire department found her on the curb,
a cigarette in her left hand,
a wine bottle in her right,
wiping her eyes with her nightgown’s sleeve.

“I make them,” she said,
pressing her finger against the bottle,
which turned, now, in the rough glove of a firefighter,
illumined by those howling lights.
“Can’t you see the ship inside?”

Waiting

Brandon Zimmerman

All that is left is the waiting
Not a waiting in the dark,
But a waiting in the light
    that things might be seen clearly
    that hopes might be considered wisely
    that feelings might be felt truly
          without deception
It is a waiting that seems a lot like living
Not living incomplete or unconsoled
But living well, to have an abundance
    to invite her into, to give unto her
    if the dramatis personae should alter
    and chance, and faith, and goodness conceive
          a happy denouement

A Song for Simeon

Brandon Zimmerman

Lord, the cold is creeping in the narrow alleyways
making barren and inhospitable the old refuges
I feel it in my bones—this may be my last winter
Long have I shuffled through these broken streets [Read more...]

April Error

Sr. Mary Catherine Vukmanic, OSU

A robin sang “April.”
My heart did the same,
And a calendar hailed
The month of that name.

But nature, distracted,
Mismanaged things so;
She sent with the springtime
Not flower, but snow.

[Read more…]

Sonnet of Youth Departing

Anne Babson

Youth warns no one when it leaves the party.
It does not thank the hostess, then air kiss,
Then wave, hailing the hot night’s last taxi.
Youth offers no one a ride home in this
Weather, still humid and still summery,
But the wind threatens to end with a hiss
All the sunshine promises, the hearty
Picnic dates made only that we might miss
Them. The street lamp has gone all sputtery. [Read more…]

Sirocco

Fiorella de Maria

I can taste the dust,
Red dust of the Sirocco.
The lonely call of the Sahara, which
Touches the sun-battered farmer’s face
In the whisper of a breeze,
Across the barren Maltese earth. [Read more…]