Magazine | December 09, 2019, Issue

Ministry

(Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

It was cold when they left Macedonia,
The saints barely warm in their robes,
Sleet on the mules. In Greece,
The villages shuttered and mean.
Dangerous ports, difficult seas — 

Jerusalem
Wasn’t much warmer.
Crepuscular streets, hushed welcomes,
Worried looks at the door.
From Macedonia, said the saints.
With money for the Christian poor — 

In cramped houses, dinners of fish and figs.
Lamplight played on plaster walls.
Later at night, the lowing of the kine,
A different meal,
The bread of remembrance, the wine — 

In Rome,
Dome impossibly high.
Rain blows like a spirit
Onto the flagstones.
The saints walk into gold
In the frescoes,
Urgent everlasting gold — 

And I, who have no home —
When will I come from Macedonia?
When will I go to Jerusalem?
When will I go to Rome?

Brian J. Buchanan has had work published in Puckerbrush Review, Valley Voices, and Potomac Review. He lives in Nashville, TN.

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Readers write in with fond memories of fatherhood, some long-held admiration, and some prefix pedantry.

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