By Patrick T. Reardon
Give me two mule-loads of
mud flooded with the Lord God,
the water in which I washed,
plunged seven times,
gagged, splashed, amok,
spluttered, my flesh like
the flesh of a child,
uncleanness now whiter than snow;
The baby sleeps in the upper room.
The bread is broken in the upper room.
I climb the stairs to the upper room.
We store the box of photographs,
each a song, in the upper room.
Look, light from the upper room
stabs the dark.
two mule-loads of river silt,
caress of current, mountain to bay;
Workers dismantle the upper room table.
Upper room fracture,
upper room consternation, upper room belief.
The upper-room hymns.
of dry beach sand, insected, footed, garbaged;
Open the tabernacle
in the wall safe in the upper room.
Hear confessions in the upper room.
Elk clopping before the altar.
two mule-loads of dust from
the home he abandoned when
he stuttered his way out the back
door with the trigger.
I chew my brother’s ashes until I choke.
The baby breathes and alleluia steeples.
Patrick T. Reardon
This poem originally appeared in Meat For Tea, Volume 14, Issue 1, March 2020.