Sunday, August 14, 2016

August 14th

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. This is a reproduction of a written manuscript of a poem I wrote 27 years ago, on August 14, 1989. A typed transcription of the poem follow beneath it.

When Kolbe stepped forward to offer his own life in place of another prisoner, he said, "I am a Catholic priest."




August 14th
I am the guardian
unworthy
of the flesh and blood that I command.
I stand
extended
from world's edge to windowless walls,
the quarry-block place markers 
around my becoming-all-things.
I am a mother's graceful, sweet breath
dissolving
like fine, penetrating mist
against your broken, burned skin.
I am the witness
stepping out of place
away
beyond the trembling assembly 
of bony finger-clutched this-moment,
toward the timeless returning unto dust of you
and you
and you.
Forward!
step forward...
                           ...out of place
for I am
your sacrifice.


--August 14, 1989

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