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Feast of Saint Claire, 2012


I forgot to call P. from the airport in New York

On the way out to Congo

And so


Yesterday running around trying to get things

In order I rang her and got

To leave a message


And later while I was between prison and the grocery store

She texted: she was sorry she hadn’t been around

She was in chemo


I did not know


D.’s sleeping through his days and his weeks now

He is no longer able to do what he did do his whole life

A. says so


The tumor is growing again: nothing left to try and do

He’s falling all the time: God—why—

Does this come to so kind and gentle a man?


I do not know


I came back from so much abroad to find all this at home

And I came back too late to even pretend to think that

I could have made a difference


And now I am leaving in the midst of this

To try to tackle theology far away

At university


When Life’s class right here is almost over

And this time it ends in pass/fail

No taking it over


Next time I am back this way—who knows?

Next time—who cares?  Who will be around?

I came back—why?


I do not now seem to know


There’s the cell phone plus Skype

There are the possible emails



And so

I go

Praying the Ave Maria

… nunc, et in hora mortis nostrae.

Praying D.’s favorite prayer

By Thomas Merton


I have no idea where I am going…

…I will not fear,

for you are ever with me,

and you will never leave me

to face my perils alone.