A Poem For Sunday


"White Spine" by Henri Cole:

Liar, I thought, kneeling with the others,

how can He love me and hate what I am?

The dome of St. Peter’s shone yellowish

gold, like butter and eggs. My God, I prayed

anyhow, as if made in the image

and likeness of Him. Nearby, a handsome

priest looked at me like a stone; I looked back,

not desiring to go it alone.

The college of cardinals wore punitive red.

The white spine waved to me from his white throne.

Being in a place not my own, much less

myself, I climbed out, a beast in a crib.

Somewhere a terrorist rolled a cigarette.

Reason, not faith, would change him.

("White Spine" from Pierce the Skin: Selected Poems: 1982-2007 © 2010 by Henri Cole. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Photo by Flickr user nkpl)