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Poem from My Grave

Michael Lee Johnson

Don't bring the rosary beads

it's too damn late for doing repetitions.

Eucharist, I can handle the crackers and wine;

I love the Lord just like you.

Catholicism circles itself with rituals--

ground hogs and squirrels dancing with rosary beads,

naked in the sun and the night, eating the pearls

and feeling comfortable about it.

Rituals and rosary beads are indigestible

even the butterflies go coughing in the farmer's cornfields..

Cardinal George, Chicago, would choke on the damn things;

some of his priests would have thought it a gay orgasm or piece

remote found in scripture from Sodom & Gomorrah.

But my bones in ginger dust lie near a farm in DeKalb, Illinois,

where sunset meshes corn with a yellow gold glow like rich teeth.

My tent is with friends where we said prayers privately like silent

moonlight.  Farmers touch the face of God each morning after just

one cup of  Folgers coffee Columbian blend,

or pancakes made with water and batter, sparse on the sugar.

Sometimes I would urinate on the yellow edge of flowers,

near the tent, late at night, before the hayride, speak

to the earth and birds like gods.

Never did I pull the rosary beads from my pocket.

It's too late, damn it, for rosary beads and repetitions.




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