photoart: ralph murre
by Albert DeGenova
At the bottom of a hotel pool
someone’s scapular is flailing.
I dive in, retrieve the brown string choker
stand on the pool ladder
hand held high, holding it for all to see –
a man runs up to me
grabs the icon from my hand
kisses it, sighs, says gracias.
How did I remember that word “scapular”
I’d recognized it, the thing, immediately
sacred reminder of something
a gift from my priest
given with my First Holy Communion —
I lost mine, don’t think it lasted through second grade
even though we were never to take it off, ever.
It was a blessing,
I think, that gracias.
I try to remember
the pang, the missed breath
effect of kissing a crucifix –
as the friar in gray tunic does
saying his rosary
fingering brown wooden beads
sitting, eyes closed, across from me
at the flight gate
our plane delayed by rain
~ previously published in A Slender Thread (Little Eagle Press)