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 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
(True confession: I hope so.)
They say we’re going to make a
that will be a festival of
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.