The National Catholic Review



  • February 22, 2016

    Stream crossing, train whistle

    among the beech leaves rustling

    and a vulture swings down low over the boardwalk

    when the engine light barrels over the causeway

    and the geese lift over the dormant buds,

    a shimmer in the water’s mild ripple, in the liquid

    where the deer bounding and the dog barking

    and the family laughing their way


  • February 15, 2016
    After that business with the blackbird, Kevin sore-shouldered from his mortifications— the lent-long arms reach and supplications in service of life’s mysteries and flights— lay himself out, spread-eagled in paschal light, cozy in a copse of alders, cones and catkins, and slept the sleep of a child of God. Waking to a woman fast astraddle him in ways he’d never ere experienced and sensing frenzy in his nether regions so lovely that it must be mortal sin, he strove against the ginger-haired...
  • December 21-28, 2015
    I station Beckett like Gotama, mid-table, and spread before him the Sunday comics. I’ve pored over the Brueghelian welter: each interstice of time, its tenants and their possessions since Genesis, secreted in a cartoon panel, of exponential zeal and futility, the size of a handkerchief. The inventory of eternity, shape-shifting, yet captured, in pixilated frenzy. Waldo’s somewhere in there, gaunt, anonymous, camouflaged— red and white striped jersey, spectacles, bangs spilling from the stocking...
  • December 7-14, 2015
    It is still Easter, though we are aground this monster’s back, tethered to its tail. This is still an island, as it rises in swells, falls in troughs, follows wanton tides. Still a mooring, a port enough for our feast. Our Lord is still risen. Still our hearts that burn and yield a Sabbath. A sun pierces overhead. Still our basket of a boat, shearwater seeking the Isle of the Blessed. And here at the foot of the rood we planted, between the scales, a silent nest.
  • November 30, 2015

    We kiss the person we love last thing before

    the coffin is shut

    —Jack Gilbert

    You lean across the coffin’s gunwale to kiss

    your father before the rower launches into

    that long, last voyage to purgatory, while we,

    survivors, walk and drive onto streets of dailyness,

    having forgotten that around some corner


  • November 23, 2015
    I How to feel his death? On the street. The shots. My friend’s scream. One cracked the air, the other pierced the thin veil, a usual evening returning from somewhere, returned from many times before. When I look for where to fix the broken city that I love, the whole tower wobbles. What the government hasn’t done. What the gunmen’s’ parents didn’t do. What hands the drug lords forced. What? What I haven’t done with my puny song? And now: the sirens. And now: the neighbors say, “Did he resist?”...
  • November 16, 2015
    Then the Lord stretched out His hand and touched my mouth… Jer 1:9 render me null & voice may I not be fallen noise listener up there tune your air & liquid tongue let your unsung devouring mouth give birth to these words lavish & ludicrous an unwalled museum a windowed mausoleum
  • November 16, 2015
    O unnamed & only son too soon slipped from tender clutch of unripe body from cursed branch I will hang what’s left of you until you bloom into bone unnamed & only aviary of ribcage I will play what is reft from me & cradle the hole what is singing
  • November 2, 2015
    Inside this monument a rain it doesn’t want, coming by with winds and the flag this way and that reaching out as if the war ended smelling from all your letters home wet—they had to be wet, scented with thunder and kisses left on the ground, already this harvest—stones becoming other stones and blood that no longer returns to your heart.
  • October 26, 2015

    The scary night owl

    Flew to the moon for cheese

    To put on its pizza.

    It left the moon

    A banana.