The Communion Visit
“My Tom, he had the cancer…” (sips
then just a bit of milky tea and grabs
a napkin chinward for some wayward drips
and moves on to the next death as she dabs…):
The nephew in the car crash or Kathleen
upstairs who’s brother was so cold and mean;
and never last and never-ever least:
the man who died before she’d called the priest.
And it’s not morbid, it’s just Irish. It’s
the chat of buttered soda bread and tea;
a ninety-year-old’s ghostly coterie
that crowded round the table with us sits—
a fitting lot for two who’ve just shared bread
that tasted of one risen from the dead.
By morning robins, wrens and crows
swim through the sunlight’s goldy rose
and bluejays screech on tippy-toes
on birchy branches.
The mourning doves can mourn no more;
the sparrows cease their wormy wars.
How giddy God can lightly soar
(given the chances)!
Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Agape Review, America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, U.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.
I enjoyed reading both poems. “The Communion Visit” is moving and “The Monastery Birds” is playful and charming. Well done!