by Jeffrey Essmann

I think I hear him praying but I’m tired.
Perhaps I’m heavy from the supper’s wine
(And that confusing final cup he passed
That somehow felt to us more first than last,
Its headiness less human than divine,
A bliss that made our blood a type of fire).

And bloody looks he over there in prayer,
Although it may just be the midnight moon
Betraying his appearance to my sight.
Around him swarms the deep’ning pitch of night; 
He clings the rock as if he’s in a swoon
As I by sleep am hopelessly ensnared.

Next thing I know I hear a voice that seems
To say I might continue with my rest.
Then voices drawing to the garden near
Instill in me a sharp and waking fear:
My sleep, by lurid images possessed—
The bloodied scenes I’d seen there were no dream.

Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Dappled Things, the St. Austin ReviewThe Society of Classical PoetsAmethyst ReviewAgape ReviewAmerica MagazineU.S. Catholic, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, Edge of FaithPensive, 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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