Friday, March 7, 2008

Later in Lent

by Stephen Crippen

Later in Lent

I’m out of breath. I’m panting, even.

I thought I was in better shape than this.

This isn’t a desert. It’s a forest wilderness.
I can hardly see everybody else.
I keep getting tangled up in branches,
branches with annoying little thorns, ivy, bramble.
I keep tripping on rocks and roots.
I think I hate that most of all.

No, I hate the heat and humidity down here.
My socks are around my ankles.
My pants are dragging and sagging.
I’m disheveled.
I feel like maybe I’m making progress,
but who knows.

They say forests need to burn every few years
to restore the ecosystem,
to keep the whole thing healthy.
I say, pass me a match.

It seems like other people are handling this better.
They seem to be walking more freely.
I console myself: I just can’t see some of their branches.
Maybe the others are also bound (and gagged?)
by their own
little demons.

(True confession: I hope so.)

They say we’re going to make a
”new fire”
that will be a festival of
dazzling light
luscious warmth
new life
everyone at the table
everyone pulling a piece of bread
from one warm, fragrant loaf.

I say, I hope I have sense enough
--when the fire is blazing—
to take off my shoes

and breath enough
to stammer out the word—

I’m out of breath. I’m panting, even…

Stephen is a therapist and postulant to the Diaconate. You can find his personal blog on his website, here.

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