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Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday in Holy Week
i ride the A train uptown to St. John the Divine
high art gothic looming over lowly Harlem
where liturgy is divinely rendered by a bishop
wearing a purple zucchetto
and pita bread replaces the wafer
falling crumbs to the cold
concrete floor of the grand cathedral
i stoop to pick up the pale fragments
of His broken body offered as sacrifice
of praise and thanksgiving for us careless
caretakers of the Holy Mystery

In Manhattan as hard rain falls at midnight
lady artist, Jesse, poet David Henderson
and i break bread and drink wine together
talking books, cinema, politics and personalities
like Cornel West selling out to Harvard’s black elite
In ecstatic conversation we celebrate the word
made flesh on Sunday nite in Mekka on Avenue A

-- Tomás
San Diego

On My Way to Easter:

resonance of visions: french horns
spilling sunshine into air of topaz wine
pansies grinning and You danced laughing
with new babies and sinners
around the table splashing holy water
and Mary open and weeping at the tomb
the helium balloons
broke away and rose
far above the city crouching
over subway tunnels screeching
electric fear
where I sat facing
a brown velvet black woman
lamp glow of daffodils in her lap
and the derelict so sick
he held his breath and the edge of his seat
through eyes like blue daybreak over a battlefield
stared out at me
speaking Your Name.

-- Mariel Kinsey
Las Vegas, N.M.

In the Garden

Got a slick tongue my mother used to say.
Kind of thick tonight? Yeh, had a few.
Needed ’em. The wind was cold.

That damned garden, full of spooks
and crazy howling. I was beat.
Got forty winks and then all hell broke loose.

Man, they were an ugly crew
and mean as sin.
I beat it while I still had time;
the others, too, I think.

He was too dumb to run I guess.
You never know what’s on his mind.
Yeh, he spoke to Judas and the rest.
Me? I never said a word.
--Sr. Jean Hitzeman, OP
Hickory Hills, Ill.
Greenhouse Worker

You did not press a blossom,
Keep it in the workbook
For years and years. No.
You mean you let the blossom out.
Yes. I opened the skylight.

You did not press a blossom.
No. Did you actually bend down,
Comfort a blossom. Yes.
I moved discretely
Through the scent.

I felt the color bursting,
All my fears blown free,
My soul drifting north
As the last pasture rose.
Lord, sweet Lord, I saw

A day of creation,
The skylight of the earth opening,
The cherubim wild
With the excitement
Of resurrection, spring.

-- Mary Ann Meade
Conshohoken, Pa.

2001 in Poetry

2000 in Poetry

1999 in Poetry

Poems should be previously unpublished and limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to poetry@natcath.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.

National Catholic Reporter, April 27, 2001