Precious Blood

By Philip C. Kolin - Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA - 1 June 2013


Each week the ladies
from the altar guild iron
the spotless linens until
they are crisp.


They never see the blood
of slaughtered oxen seeping
down the sides of the altar


mingling with the red courage
of Oscar Romero or Emmett Till
whose sacrifices rewrote
the gory book of history.


Nor have they ever touched
the hands of Padre Pio
from whose veins sprouted
soft and weeping roses.


How could he lose
so much blood, yet never
stain his starched alb or
latticed cassock?


His votive candle
outlived its wax.