Monday of Holy Week

Time, seasoned with love, melts away
the circling days
in one standing now:

“Anima Christi,” I write in a notebook
on a secret page near the heart,
“sanctifica me,” I pray—without knowing
in the least what I have asked.

We hold burning candles. A white-robed friar prays.
Flickering light from the living flames
and headlights passing by.

One night, you are dying.
We gather at the teen center to pray.
I say, “it’s the sorrowful mysteries on Tuesdays.”
—”Well, it’s the glorious today.”

Another time, a hill.
It must have been 3 a.m.
We were all cold faces and dizzy with laughing.
There were castles on the mountains and the sky
was mostly stars.

Another time: a chair.
Empty, except for me.
It was a holy hour even though I was alone.
And when I ran out of praying I said
“you are my father, now.”

Living moments, eternal thrumming
throbbing moments!
Did we know the love coursing through them
when we lived them the first time?

Now I know. Like I know this carpet.
I lie too close to make out the pattern
but I can see the knots in it and smell it
and know that I am lying where you stood
and where my brothers have walked and lain,
‘hurled down from a horror of height
to the heart of the Host’—as someone said,
someone who knew you, as I do:
father to me, and brother, beloved,
my first, fast, last friend.

This is day 41 of LABIA MUNDA, a series of forty poems during the forty days of Lent. 

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