candle, image by Anemone123, on Pixabay
Does Jesus Look for Me
Even led blindfolded,
I leave a trail of bread crumbs
in my wake. A scent, sent with
intent of being later found.
A glow, light on its feet, light at
your feet, when darkness comes.
An echo, shadow of my former self.
A way back, when that is wanted
on the day, but somewhere starts
the twist: careless dropping pebbles,
to be swollen bolder, boulder size.
Mortar, metal, noise and railroad
ties, not clues, not any signpost, I
must think, so much as an obstacle
course, impediments with jagged
edges, stony, as I see, the makings
of a wall.
Pray it Ahead
They never saw it coming: No one did.
My grandmother’s mother lived full ninety years
and never once imagined me. Never gave a thought,
much less considered the particulars of how it is I am
so soon to cease to be. You do not send your thoughts
down alleyways to see your children’s children’s
children old and dying. My great-grandmother,
left penniless with six small children she would feed
by opening a boarding house, this woman never stopped
once to consider I would come to be, would one day
walk the streets of town, to end in disarray. Much as I
have never once considered daughter of my daughter’s
daughter, what her end will be. I, so like you, imagine
it has no connection to my soul today, no tie to how I pray.
Be Ye Kind One to Another
New winds from the coast of morning pale
and Earth will shiver, blow straws making camels’
backs break and all, straws: planks, beams of steel
bones bear, but only just. The wind that strong.
And we will need new names to call the men
despising good, determined to diminish even
memory of the gentle, kind; men who abolish
righteousness and kill her children.
Starting today, all day, tonight,
lovingkindness, small, soft-spoken
will begin to matter like it never did before.
A widow from Romania, perfumed and painted,
round and sweet, will be overheard to say,
“I cannot watch the news. It breaks my heart
to hear of suffering I can’t heal and cannot help.”
A votive candle flickers.
My brother calls. We reminisce. It’s what we do.
He tells me of Bill Johnson, the Sunday School
Superintendent at the Bible Church in 1953,
who knelt down on his knees on Easter morning
to clean vile vomit from the narthex floor.
An act of honor. A thread of light
beneath a splintered door.
It’s getting late, there is a darkness in the world
tonight I can’t remember. And men somewhere
will stay up late to make more night.
But old women from Romania will carry tiny candles
to an altar place to cry, and men, long dead now, will
have knelt down, shriven, black-suited, in shoes shined
at dawn, knelt down to show the right thing being done.
Faint glimmers will be small, the darkness blacker now,
ill stalking, prowling round all night.
And glowing, small and pure, what’s righteous
will need telling, showing, fanning, till the light.
Pandemic: to be a Christian
Day turns to night,
we stockpile light bulbs
and online ask people
we have never met
for movie suggestions.
We repost songs and recipes.
We claim to be God’s children,
so we create live videos
in basements in his holy name,
send virtual thanks to people
who are dying in our stead,
and we are brave and patient
and some of us are kind.
We give away the masks we
make from fabric scraps, we
scribble Bible verses,
Psalms to comfort,
hymns to brace.
I can’t remember,
Whistling Dixie mean?
all Rome aflame.
Knowing full well
we could of course
Linda McCullough Moore is the author of two story collections, a novel, an essay collection and more than 350 shorter published works. She is a winner of the Pushcart Prize, as well as winner and finalist for numerous national awards. Her first story collection was endorsed by Alice Munro, and equally as joyous, she frequently hears from readers who write to say her
work makes a difference in their lives. For many years she has mentored award-winning writers of fiction, poetry, and memoir. She is currently completing a novel, Time Out of Mind, and a collection of her poetry. www.lindamcculloughmoore.com