Before Mass

by Jeffrey Essmann

we sit there
kneel there
hearts thrown open
aching
pleading
(maybe joyful)
happy
numb
confused
within the orb of prayer,
its warming grace
enfolding us
and pointing
deep within
to teach us each
to read the passion there;

somewhere behind me
somewhere near
i hear someone
a woman
(old)
who whispers something
only God can hear;
i catch alone
the tender roll
of word on word
the subtle sibilance
of faint and fitful plea;
and ask the Lord
if all my needs
(so blind, so deaf)
might please be joined
to hers.

Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America MagazineDappled Things, the St. Austin ReviewU.S. Catholic, Grand Little Things and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.

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