CORINNE

Corinne

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SARA’S SO NEW (1977)

Sara’s so new
she doesn’t smile at me,
just smiles,
eyes wide unfocused in a far-off gaze,
as if remembering.

She was eager to be born,
pushing against my panting
while the doctor dressed.

Inches away from home she rests
between my elbow and breast
like a puzzle piece
and smiles.

THE YOUNG PRIEST AT ST.PAUL’S (2008)

At least he didn’t preach about
how Catholics ought to vote.

He simply referred us to
a leaflet in the pew.
He was eager to preach about All Souls’ Day.
“How many of you were out there
on State Street for Halloween?”

No hands go up.
These aren’t the university students
who party.
These are the students
who go to church,
and bow their heads at the name of Jesus,
and make the Sign of the Cross
before they receive Communion.

At least he didn’t preach about
how Catholics ought to vote.
That’s what the bishop wanted him to do.

I have strong feelings about voting,
having just spent this Sunday afternoon
on last-minute canvassing.
I hope Father doesn’t object
to my Obama shirt.

He was eager to preach about Purgatory.
Good old painful Purgatory.
Just like Hell, but with hope.
Oh, come on now!
I look around.
The students are buying it.
It’s a good thing the ones who party
aren’t here.

LITANY

Let us pray to the other saints.

Saint Martin Luther,
you who spoke the truth to ecclesiastical power,
pray for us.

Saint Martin Luther King,
you who spoke the truth to cultural power,
pray for us.

Saint Buddha,
Saint Mohammed,
Saint Lao Tzu,
pray for us.

All you martyrs of the Inquisition,
pray for peace.
All you martyrs of the Holocaust,
pray for peace.
All you Muslim martyrs of the Medieval Crusades,
pray for lasting peace.

Saint Rumi and mystics of every faith,
Saints Black Elk and Sun Bear,
pray for us.
All you holy cabalists, shamans and seers,
pray for us.
All feet upon the shining path,
don’t forget that we’re still here.

Saints Pocahontas and Sacajawea,
teach us to be color blind.
Saints Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Rosa Parks,
teach us to be color blind.
Saints Albert Schweitzer and Dorothy Day and all do-gooders,
teach us to be kind.

Saint Johann Sebastian Bach and Saint John Lennon,
Saint William Shakespeare and Saint Emily Dickinson,
Saint Leonardo da Vinci and Saint Frida Kahlo,
inspire our ears and eyes.

Save us, O Lord, from certainty.
Open our minds to wondering faith.

Save us, O Lord, from cynicism.
Open us to wishful thinking.

Save us, O Lord, from caution.
Open our hearts to excessive love.

Amen.