A Woman from the Parish
A woman from the parish died.
I knew her from the 5 o’clock.
She had a child who whined and cried
And two who blithely ran amok.
I prayed for patience every week.
I raised my eyes to God. I sighed.
I thought that maybe I would speak
With her, and then I heard she died.
The person who passed on the news
(Whose name discretion here forbids):
“You know her: young; the forward pew.
The one,” she said, “with those three kids.”
The family wasn’t at the 5:00
The next week nor, I think, the next.
I feared some other mother, live,
The dead one’s pew would soon annex.
But then one night they plodded in,
The father and the children three,
Soul-deaf with grief’s consuming din
And dull with grey solemnity.
He huddled with his sullen squad
In their old pew in somber shock.
I sighed. I raised my eyes to God
And prayed they’d once more run amok.
Originally published in The Road Not Taken.
Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, The Society of Classical Poets, The Chained Muse, The Road Not Taken, Agape Review, America Magazine, U.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, Edge of Faith, Pensive, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room.