Joris Soeding

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Holy Thursday

I can’t recall the last time I prayed the rosary
stumbling on parts with many white, plastic beads
cross swaying in front of the pew
intricate knots in the wood, lines like squiggled threes
plane arrivals lulled after ten
wood creaks from the confessional or car keys of others
wonder what the fifty-seven are praying
some for a few minutes, some for an hour
walking backwards from the altar
the burning candelabras and gold circle

I used to say the Hail Mary each week
after school Wednesdays, Fridays, during weekend soccer games
looked for her statue to motion to me
a vocation to priesthood
her face, hands to move
being alone, like this, at the seminary in Cheshire, Connecticut
silent retreat unless we were in the field
playing amidst woods, a dirt road
talking of The Shining book, music
ZZ Top’s Greatest Hits cassette in my black walkman

how the little things change
time and what takes precedence
my children, nine and six
their years ahead, decisions, families
I look back at the women I’ve loved
still here and who is not
places known well and the return
again with the statues, their shadows
subtle hum of lights, a motorcycle, and the five of us remaining
red candles and the last supper
what is lost and what is gained

Joris Soeding’s most recent collections of poetry are Forty (Rinky Dink Press, 2019) and Home in Nine Moons (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, 2018). He is a 7th/8th grade Social Studies teacher in Chicago, where he resides with his wife, son, and daughter.

Photo Credit: “Różaniec” by FotoKatolik.

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