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