“Won’t you pay your debt to God?”
the letter said, signed Parish Council,
Committee in charge of Finance.
“Why don’t you pay your debt to God?”
My husband and I don’t like those parish envelopes,
we like to give and not to count the cost.

“Peace I leave you,” Jesus said.
“My peace I will give, but first let’s have
a report from the Building Committee.”
The report was read,
and Finance left
to raise thirty more pieces of silver.



Palm Sunday in the cry room
you can’t even hear the story
of Christ’s Passion,
little stories crowd around.
My chair, put up last,
sits where the toddlers want to run.
Holding Amy, I have to keep pulling
my legs in.

Lent’s perimeter is a little off.
We’ve just had our Passion,
from hospital to nursing home
to the last moment with the hardest
breathing. Grandma opened eyes
blue as a kitten’s, something
told me when to pray out loud.

If grandmas in comas can hear,
her going out was Amy’s baby noises.
(Grandma had a month of Amy
conversations–no one else could
understand their words,
no one else could share their secrets.)

Palm Sunday in the cry room,
little stories crowd around.
Someone’s little girl falls folded
in a folding chair.
People come and go with so much crying.


This is my place.
These are the things that have me
keeping them.
It’s almost time to dust
a geisha’s case,
fine furniture
(we never bought it, just inherited)
requiring reverent touch,

the windowsill
over our backyard and other yards,
where trees part a window
to the center of city and state
(To robins and wrens,
these house are all smaller than trees,
insignificant in forest.)
Umbilici tie us
to Wisconsin Power and Light.

What would happen if I cut cords
and kept the draperies closed?
The robins and the wrens
would never know.