Marianne Lyon

Apathy by Ana Jovanovska

Extreme Unction*

                  One night
                  although I no longer exclaim Our Father,
a prayer whispers itself
asks my eyes to listen to secrets
from feminine stars exhaling light
like on biblical eve above Gethsemane

                  Some days,
                 although I’m named faithless by Rome—
excommunicated for thirty years or more,
a silenced truth resurrects in my heart,
I taste excavated communion bread
hear Her soothing forgiveness words
feel my young lips gladly mouth
penance prayers for my sins

                 although I fear extinction—
when train of days
rolls out its last exodus
I dream I smell Unction Oil
kneeling in incense-fogged sanctuary

                 That day,
                 although my eyes are bowed
robed, She strolls proudly to altar rail
my guilt dissolves,
fears exorcize themselves
Mother gently anoints my forehead
with warm holy salve
blesses, kisses my hands
welcomes me back home

*Last Rites in Catholicism – Sacrament given before death

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