The radio is on a pledge drive
and living in America
is starting to feel like staying
in the bad hotel.
Nothing to hear but selling
or silence. I’m thinking of the night
you were embarrassed to talk to the clerk.
But I’d seen a roach and went myself.
And soon we were back
on the highway, dark and free
of all bad things that chase us.
Poem for Pope Francis
I’ve never tasted anything.
Stood all my life at an edge waiting to speak,
holding myself back from speaking.
In a peaked cap, I’ve flipped burgers
watching the mothers take their seats
along the pale dinette of prayer,
pitying them for how they pitied themselves
beneath monstrous, clouded ceilings.
You have to look at humans as lost
and as a thing worth saving.
Walking to my bus along 31st street I passed
The church of St. Francis, eloquent
between two blocky towers
and felt myself pulled into a sweep of prayer,
steeped in the feeling of forgiveness.