FIVE CREATURES ON THIS COUCH by Amy Hilgendorf

Five creatures on this couch.
Four of us long together,
Changing, reshaping, but together just the same.
One of us newly joining.

Does she know the four beings that surround her?

Does she hear the audible affection
Curled beside her?
Does she sense the calm comfort
Just beyond her?

Does she feel her Daddy’s hand
Gently atop her?
A touch still uncertain;
A powerful nurturance stronger each day.
He longs to reach her skin-to-skin.

Does she know this heart above her?
Sharing each beat,
Its volume, its vitality, its vulnerability,
With her.

She does.

Five of us long together.

MASS AT THE DANE COUNTY JAIL

These men are not animals,
but they reside in cages
smaller than the cages at the zoo.

Father Mick and I
have presented our ID’s to the deputy
and locked up our valuables
and we are threading our way
through these gray catacombs.

A deputy unlocks the chilly room
with its wood altar and its Hammond organ.
As soon as twenty men file in,
the door will be locked again.

Father Mick and I
had to go through Volunteer Orientation,
where we were warned
about the evils of fraternization.
No favorites, we were warned, no friendliness,
no treating inmates like people,
unless we treat them like lepers.
Father Mick and I agree
that Christianity trumps all this
and Christians have their own way of dealing
with lepers.

Oh this, the Third Thursday in Ordinary Time,
Father Mick will read about Jesus recruiting
Peter, Andrew, James and John.
I have chosen “Pescador de Hombres”
as the opening hymn.

Father will, in Spanish and then in English,
tell us we’re all called to be fishers of men,
and this Dane County Jail
is a good place to go fishing for
the biggest, meanest fish.

And then we’ll all pray, loud and long,
the Prayers of the Faithful,
for all our children, all our parents, for wives and girlfriends and
friends and neighborhoods and also for our victims.

Somebody always says, “I’d like to pray for my enemies,
cause they don’t know no better.”

GOD IS BIGGER THAN THAT BOOK

God is bigger than that Book,
and every other book.
Bigger than the Quran,
the Upanishads, the Watchtower
and all scriptures.

God is bigger than Jewish High Holidays,
and Advent and Lent and Ramadan.
God is bigger than Buddhist Nirvana
and eternal Christian Hell.
God is bigger than Gaia,
and every other planetary soul.

God is bigger than the Pope,
the Ayatollahs and the Dalai Lama,
each cloned 700 billion times
and all rolled up into one.

Yes, God is bigger than that.

God is bigger than ten thousand Hindu gods and goddesses,
than all the heroes of Norse mythology,
than devas, fairies and gnomes.
God is bigger than all ghosts and demons,
even bigger than Satan, poor devil.

God is bigger than the Mayan Calendar
and the fear of 2012.
God is, in fact, bigger than all fear and all guilt
and all fear of guilt.

God is bigger than Confession
and Redemption and Jihad.
God is bigger than
all presumed blasphemies and all presumed heresies,
than all presumed commandments and creeds.

God is bigger than your God
and bigger than mine.

Amen.