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.
Monastery Birds 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.