Raped at 5 by a neighbor
a woman I know
clung to an
old cloth rabbit
until she was 12.
Thats when her mother
the rabbit, while she was off at school
saying to her when she
Youre too old for such childish things.
bits of sacred connection
to which we cling
are woven of such cloth
as the seamless garment of Christ was
lost in a toss of dice but now
in a place where rabbit is reified
in the body of Christ who
re-membering; the limbs of mercy severed
-- Judith Robbins
Prayer of the Tightrope Dancer
Oh God of tenderness
and watchful love,
my balance beam,
I shall not falter.
With you, my surety,
-- Sr. Eleanor Fitzgibbons, IHM
Happy are the marigolds,
for they do not worry if
their flowers and leaves
Happy are the birds,
their melody is neither promoted by a company
nor judged by a DJ.
Happy are the dandelions,
the lowly are consistently raised
Happy are the weeds,
in their annual visit
courageously claim their space on the planet.
Happy are you
people judge you
or by gender
knows what pleases God.
-- Sr. Rosemary Schmid, SC
Annunciation with Cat, the Renaissance
Lotto knew what the virgin would need,
betrothed to a
man who could have her stoned,
how only her cats alarm when the herald
would reassure her she hadnt dreamed it.
detail, he imagines for us how to weather
an annunciation: ribbon of sand in
the cats tail thin as a rats, fringe on the
its cord hung from an alcove nail: tethers
everyday when suddenly it shatters
and the only path forward
or what a husband may not forgive.
its seeds in the lilys cup
and a woman conceives the improbable as
-- Karen Zealand
The Family of Man
La Vale, Md.
Stranded for a summer afternoon in a city
strangers, and in want of human
Company, I found the zoo my refuge,
sanded pathways filling with families:
Couples hand in hand, parents with
Toddlers carried on shoulders for a better
View down into the
busy prairie dog town,
The emu pressing his chainlink fence,
The icy blue
stare of the polar bears.
Conversations everywhere: an animated
Of visitors talking a tongue not native
But foreign, surround the
Talking theirs. Chatter, chirps, snarls, hisses,
Screams, words, until standing before the comfortless
Turn and return of
shadowed tigers, I share
Their comforting silence, padding the
Feathers of some forager not quick enough
At exiting the bars,
shouldering each other
For companionship, stranded for all their
In a city of strangers, with the family of man.
-- Nancy G. Westerfield
1999 in POETRY
2000 in POETRY
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