Off balance, tipped to the left 
perching on a peninsula 
in a cage of free-form, 
a trilling city 
fault-filled to the cracking point, 
like Jamira 
living on Fillmore outside the Italian café, 
wandering in a flight of sing-song, 
pacified by a bite of pastry 
from the portly barrista. 

I knelt one morning 
in Saint Dominic's 
and in the shaking 
the marble crucifix 
creaked from its bolts 
but Father kept consecrating, 
nearly shouldering 
a ton of cross. 
Later, I dreamt of Jesus 
coming undone, falling, shattering, 
picking up his pieces 
and sliding out into air 
through the sacristy door. 

We wear loose clothes here 
lifting and rolling with things 
so we don't snap 
like a thousand fingers 
in Stern Grove 
grooving to salsa in the sun. 

You know, 
Francis was somewhat 
shaving his headtop and talking to larks, 
lifting up the poor. 
He shook a little, too, 
and did not topple 
when that pope dismissed him 
a fool.

Copyright 2000, Annette Spaulding-Convy 

Annette Spaulding-Convy is a high school teacher currently taking some years off to raise two small children in Kingston WA, where she gardens, writes poetry, and chases after a frisky basset hound.