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Feb 2017
Give me to carry
just a fragment of the cross.
A single thorn, or single lash
to suffer. A drop of blood.

At your worst, holding you
seemed to make the world make sense -
to you, at least -
but the nurses had lorazepam for that
and in more ways than one
I came to know impotence.

Like a supplicant, eating nothing at all
and playing cards with myself
while waiting for the Visitation.

At your best, I brought Halloween string lights
and Halloween candy for the holy sisters
and pagan holiday or no,
we gave that room the feeling of a convent,
and I wrung my hands while you slept.

Home in midafternoon and anxious
rosaries in azure on the bedsheets
and flowers in brown, on green field

Sleeplessness was penance,
and so was I absolved; thus some of that
absolution affixed itself to relics
and that rubber duck on the dashboard
I touched in the morning traffic.
It glowed to say
your spirit was with me.

And though I now can sleep at any hour,
I examine it all the same
for some of Christ’s blood, or his forgiveness,
hoping to find the signet ring of the Pope
or at least some of your halo
where I should expect
the Byzantine absence of it.
Wade Redfearn
Written by
Wade Redfearn
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