Catherine Field


Nothing much changed.
Nature was still beautiful and life still tenacious.

Stabbed with pious forks
or cauterized with hot pokers,
anything that moves is still holy.

Frank didn’t have to be told.

When the Umbrian wind blotted his seeping feet
with dead leaves, Frank shrugged.
Death was life, too.

He liked church potlucks,
and softball games in the neighborhoods.

Bleeding hands gave him a spitball,
so Frank was usually the umpire,
making up different rules each time.

Hearing crows in the sycamore trees,
Frank would wander away from the plate.

Wolves distracted him too,
hungry and servile, to accept his grace
or make off with one of the birds,
hiding bones and beaks for later.

Frank had this thing for lepers.
He took them out on nights they felt up to it.

They enjoyed making soup for him,
careful not to get too close
to the pot where the chicken floats,
face-down like a sailor.

Frank watched the roll of the boil
bang the thing in the pot,
and wondered without having to be told
how his mother was.

But there were always noodles, because this was Italy,
and wine-dark wine your children will hear about
in stories this evening, before evening is through.

That’s what saints are for.