Two Poems

Father Joe

    “Maybe the greatest miracle is memory” – Brian Doyle

The holiest moments
were those curse words 
Father Joe muttered under 
his breath when some asshole 
walked down the aisle or when, shit
the choir started in too early. I always 
volunteered to sit on his right so I could 
hold the Bible open leaned in against my 
sternum, Jesus Christ, as he read the Liturgy of the Word. 
He’d gently, damnit, slide the long tassels across the pages 
like a blessing. I still follow his eyes as he reads, arms 
bent up from his elbows tucked into his side, palms up 
Glory Be to the Highest, sonofabitch, listening 
for those curse words in that sacred syntax.

The Last Hold

Thomas Merton was silent
the moment electricity
shook through his body. 

The tree is quiet when frost
covers its branches until wind 
and all we hear is a crack.

Lunar moths crawl along asters
as hydrangea sag under October. 

We seek holds of color
that paint mosaics of silence
we are comfortable passing in. 

Even the steps we take today lead 
us to the cusp of bloom and release. 

We are leaves waiting for rain 
so we can turn one last shade of yellow,
stretching that hue out until all that is left
is muscle crisp and cracked into dirt
under the steps of a caterpillar. 

More from Michael Garrigan