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SOLITUDE SURROUNDED

A cough in the night
jolts me wake.
Ann, inarticulate,
rocks on her bed,
near choking.
I suppose she cries
because the heavy mucus
hurts her throat.

Too soon, coffee cup in hand,
I make the rounds
of darkened rooms
to open curtains,
let some February morning in.

I remember chapel during June retreat.
It was so quiet you could hear the prayer.
Peace poured through stained windows with
sun and everyone smelled on incense.
The bell above the chapel clock–

A son’s voice pierces,
I can feel its rough waves touch my skin.
“Good morning,”
touch TV
so words will cover words.

I remember chapel during June retreat.
It was so quiet you could hear the prayer.
Even God obeyed that bell,
arriving for Office promptly
with the swish of sixty
genuflecting rosaries.

In my February todays
God will have to learn to come
uncalled.

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