--for Father Brian J. Cook
Pine straw pads the roadway,
slicing nature’s antiquity.
At the overlook, possibility beckons
beside shiny, trafficked rails. A train rolls by
Uwharrie Mountains. Diesel smoke
accompanies my prayer and hoppers full of corn.
Oddly-sprouting springtime growth
reaches up from tree branches
like candles burning in their candelabras.
I see no actual flame,
but last year’s pine cones decompose slowly,
drying in brown needles, disquieting
the forest floor, sandy yet forest-fire ready.
How is it that children dance and sing
where I pray? “Do not be afraid,” joyful frolic
seems to say. “We must honor God’s Queen.”
Voices from heads of magenta flowers
are angels: Voices descant in wind. Sunbeams
crackle in rose and violet grace notes.
Long sky-blue ribbons dangle
from a mid-sized cloud, in search of a Maypole.