by Barbara Crooker
Liturgy for March
So, here you come again,
scratching the ground with your
thin green nails. Go ahead,
unbutton your purple robe,
let us see clear into
your golden heart. Let
us believe in the resurrection
of the earth. Forgive us now
After “Starfish,” by Eleanor Lerman
This is what life does. It hits you like a stone
through the window in the form of a phone call
from your son-in-law who says your daughter’s
water has broken too early, and she’s in the hospital
in antenatal care. It fl ips you back to forty years ago,
when your first child was “born asleep,” as it read
on a gravestone in Ireland. But life also gives you a car
and a tank full of gas, so you can drive to the city
to see her again and again for three long weeks.
Your grandson turns this into a quest: Big Green Dinosaur.
Stone Jesus. The Bridge. Gold Dome. Ben Franklin’s Kite.
Lincoln on the Wall. White Greek Temple. The Swirl,
aka, the parking garage. And life gives you dollars
for the machine, which you gladly pay, hoping
you don’t need to save coins for Charon, not yet, not now.
Your daughter is miserable, and scared. But every day is money
in the bank. The babies in the NICU are so small. Some of them
don’t make it. Life shrugs. No skin off his teeth. It’s all a coin toss.
Then one night, some switch is fl ipped, and whoosh, here comes
Caitlin Isabella, out in nine minutes. It could have been
a hundred years ago, when babies this small didn’t survive.
But it isn’t, it’s now, and she’s claimed us with her dark-eyed stare.
Sometimes you put your coins in the slot, and it’s cherries!
cherries! cherries! Goodness has nothing to do
with it. Look at this little one with her fleeting
smile, the thinnest of commas. Which could have
been an ellipsis, but isn’t . . . .
Walking with Jesus
after David Kirby
in the Blue Ridge Mountains, eating corn fritters
and okra, passing the black-eyed peas. He loves
redbirds and kudzu, all that green tenaciousness.
He’s not so much of a fan of men in white sheets,
gun racks, the Stars and Bars, but he’s Jesus, so
he loves them anyway. The gospel of football
eludes him, but he sure likes to tailgate. He tells
me that all the commandments are really
about sitting with your neighbors on a wide
front porch, eating peach pie, watching the sun
go down. Why are you still going on about sin
and salvation, he asks me, when you have all this,
right here, right now?