My Cousin Tells Me

by Sharon A. Harmon

My cousin tells me
how he attends church.
Tells me that the little stone church
in Bethlehem is open during Covid.

Tells me how he attends every Sunday,
to this sacred place encircled
by the White Mountains.

Relates how when he pushes the heavy
wooden door open and slides into a pew,
only one other man attends.

The priest never comes he tells me.
The man and he take turns each week
reciting the liturgy.
Kneels, sits, rises, signs of the cross.

Tells me how he, and the humble
man, knows each word
and gesture like it was second nature.
How they know it better than the bones
in their own bodies.

They recite each prayer.
Make the symbol of peace to each other.
It seems to be all they need
my cousin tells me.

Sharon A. Harmon’s poetry has appeared in Green Living, Silkworm, The Aurorean, Worcester Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review, Compass Roads and numerous other publications, including a chapbook Swimming with Cats (2008) and Wishbone in a Lighting Jar (2017). She was the Poet Laureate in 2015 for the 250 th anniversary of Royalston, Massachusetts. She teaches writing workshops. Sharon is currently working on a new chapbook Trailer Park Children. She lives in the woods of Central Massachusetts with her husband and cat, where you may see her lighting sparklers in Lightning mason jars and trying to compose new poems.

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