Sunday Morning Service
Kneel, then touch the white blaze on your border
collie’s black face. Absorb her expansive
eyes that hold the world’s kindness.
For today’s scripture, turn to 1 Mary Morris,
read her words slowly with intention. Most
of life is sacred, most meaningful moments are missed.
Listen to Tyler Barton’s sermon, his praise
to the those who have gone before,
for those who will be absent soon.
In your hymnal, turn to “A Love Supreme,”
the holiest of psalms. Sing out. Sing with the clouds,
the ice cream, the stillness of your own breath.
Go outside to the collection plate that is our world.
Tithe to the birds, the squirrels, the worms in the soil.
Bow your head in prayer. Pray for this very earth.
Le Hinton is the author of six poetry collections including, most recently, Sing Silence (Iris G. Press, 2018). His work can be found or is forthcoming in The Best American Poetry 2014, The Progressive Magazine, the Skinny Poetry Journal, The Baltimore Review, The Pittsburgh Review, and outside Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
It Takes a Calculator to Count the Dead
The sun bakes an island on the concrete.
I wake up to the smell of sulfur.
The magnolias in the yard are refusing to bloom.
I never know where to rest my hands anymore.
Between starting this poem on a Friday
and finishing it on a Monday, there have been
at least eleven more mass shootings.
I consider praying, but I was never taught how.
I dress my daughter in camouflage
and carry her from room to room. I tell her,
I’m sorry I brought you into this.
I tell her, Pretend a miracle is on its way.
I tell her, Maybe this is how we
learn how to pray.
Leigh Chadwick’s poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Salamander, Milk Candy Review, Olney Magazine, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Bear Creek Gazette, among others. Her debut poetry collection, Wound Channels, will be published by ELJ Editions in February of 2022. Find her on Twitter at @LeighChadwick5.
In this time of needed absence
when distant words are thin soup
and images cannot be grasped,
we offer the lack of ourselves
as a protective prayer for those
we love too much to touch,
and hope that our denial
of those we hold most close
keeps us intact and caring
for a later day.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred fifty stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.
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