This Poem Stunned Me When We Read It Aloud in Class Last Week

BEFORE THE AIR BECAME THE JOURNEY

It is Good Friday
and I am seven.
I don’t understand the priest
who speaks in Latin
or in Polish,
but I like the hopeful smell of
candles burning.

Inching forward
on our knees,
we sway and shuffle towards
the giant crucifix
propped at the railing.
The men’s heads are bare.
The women wear bubushkas.
Everywhere I look
there are soles of shoes.

My turn. I stand
and stretch to reach
the bleeding instep.
An altar boy
wipes away my kiss
with a white handkerchief.

I bow my head
to imitate the old man
who on Sundays stays
for all the Masses,
locked in place
at the altar rail, face
buried in his hands,
hunched over and sad
as if, like me,
he’d done everything wrong.

Someone like him, I think,
could stop the nails
from going in.

Elisabeth Murawski

The Last Post for This Week Is A Poem

“Swept Up Whole”

You aren’t swept up whole,
however it feels. You’re
atomized. The wind passes.
You recongeal. It’s
a surprise.

Kay Ryan

And, an excerpt from the linked interview:


What do you think about the state of poetry and the reading of poetry in our country?

I never, ever worry about poetry or its survival because it’s the very nature of a poem to be that language that does survive. Poems are even better than tweets – they don’t require any electronic equipment. They can lodge right in your brain. They are by nature short. You don’t even have to remember all of them — you can remember just a phrase. That can be something you can turn to in any emergency, good or bad. You’ll pluck out a little group of words, just maybe a phrase, and that’s exactly what poetry is for. It’s for the things that really last. Because it lasts.

From Early This Evening, Wilkinson Center Computer Lab

Hey, are you from New York?

Um, yes?

I know you from somewhere…

Hey, yeah! You’re totally [a former seminary student]!

You were my seminary teacher!

Wow.

I have to go, but can I get your number?

Sure, it’s [my phone number]. How have you been?

Good! My ride is here –

Call me –

But I’ll call you.

Awesome.

***

Being here is still so incredibly surreal.

From Early This Evening, Wilkinson Center Computer Lab

Sunday

I just got home from church. My mom sent me an email with some pretty startling news. It’s made me really emotional and I don’t understand much why I’m bawling right now. It really struck my emotions very suddenly. Don’t worry, it’s not anything tragic, but it took me completely by surprise and it’s given me a lot to think about. Most of you know there’s not a single drop of American/Caucasian blood in me, but the man who raised me is the man I call “Dad,” and he’s the only father I’ve ever known. He’s a good man and worked hard to support his family, and I admire his devotion. Yes, I know some other man is my biological father, but I don’t know him, at least nothing beyond his name, and that I look a lot like him, according to my mom. I thought he was long gone, that I’d not even be the slightest inkling in his mind, and that the chances of my meeting him were slim to none. And yet, in this email, the email from my mom, this man, my biological father, the man whose history with me only involves his donation of an X chromosome to my existence, he is looking for me.

I don’t know what to do with this news. I can’t control my crying.

My biological father is looking for me.