This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Jeffrey Essmann.
The Autistic Altar Boy
Sometimes he wanders ‘bout the altar, strays;
(but don’t we) (just like him) (but don’t we all)
sometimes between the priest and table (stall
and wonder) and he wonders, “Should I pray?”
For just a moment word and world dissolve
and he is (aren’t we all) cast blindly to
the empty arms of grace and all askew
he hovers without intent or resolve.
But lest I turn the boy to metaphor
entirely, a specter on the spec-
trum (aren’t we), holy (all just) wreck-
age broken on a godly shore,
let me recall his presence and his calm
when side by side we softly sing the psalm.
Jeffrey Essmann’s poetry has appeared in America Magazine, Dappled Things, St. Austin Review, The Road Not Taken, and in various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate.