He has to walk the whole length of State Street
to get to Sunday Evening Mass.

Women with tattoos sit cuddled up against their men.
They’re listening to the street musicians.
Panhandlers shake their cups of coins.
People are smoking something sweet.

This is the season of Magdalenes, of wedding feasts,
of Jesus wandering up and down the hills of Galilee,
attending parties held by sinners and tax collectors,
sometimes bringing the wine.

But Jesus wasn’t shy.
The young priest is, especially around sin.

“One of these Sundays,” he announces in his sermon,
“I’m going to leave the house an hour early.
I’m going to get to know one of those panhandlers.
I’m going to take him to a nice restaurant
and buy him a nice meal.”

I hope you do, Young Father.
I hope you loosen your collar and blend in with the crowd.
Let State Street minister to you, let the season in.



You have to enter the tunnel, son.
Find me inside, you will
find me outside, too.
You will be held
by touching hands.

Am I a place?
You’ll see my face has eyes like yours,
and you will see
that there are other colors.

Shut your eyes and
start your pirouette.
Mommy’s everywhere.


Home hugged you like a glove
while I lay measuring the night
before the birthday we had chosen,
marked on Dr. Martens’ calendar,
phoned in to Lutheran Hospital.
You would be induced.

You had know the world was growing smaller,
when you stopped rib-toeing,
curled head down to wait.

Midmorning Dr. Martens shot a vein pitocin,
waited for the first contraction.
Your world squeezed you, pushed,
punched, squeezed you!
Wave upon wave reshaped the terrain,
while nurses bearing needles and ice chips
monitored my face for pain.
Home sounds and dark let go, exploding
into openness. You inched out, red
and gooey.

In me, you didn’t need a name.
You leave a hollow, go back!
At least slow down, ritard,
hold this finale of our dance!

Ann rushes on.