Two Men in a Cafe Talking About the Catholic Church, Jolene Brink

Urban-1Cristo de Espiritu, 22X30 watercolor, Gary Buhler



Two Men in a Café Talking
About the Catholic Church

What they don’t know is what I’ve abandoned
to become an outsider who still dreams in sin,

who cannot empty herself of the old church mornings
and stain-glassed windows reaching into the rafters,

or the pews stained so often the thick brown wood
goes indistinguishable from its origins.

When I prayed with my family,
what I believed always came from the outside:

the smell of church doors open after mass
when we left together, stepping over puddles

in a murmur of small-town visions. Spring birds
perched in the arches, their call casting

the widest net around us. Even then,
confession, was the scent of living

with the unsainted dead, urging me
towards ritual from the afterlife, their rosaries

clicking in earnest from old photographs
where behind the long-gone studio’s cloth backdrop

a small town rose from a North Dakota prairie
and went on past fields waiting for harvest.


Jolene Brink

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