Shortcuts

At church on Sundays, I tend to forget
the right sequence of words in the Nicene
Creed. My ten year old squeezes my elbow

—she thinks I’m skipping words, going too
fast (just like the way I drive), merely
impatient to be done with it and get to

our destination. I’ve tried to explain
that my ability to remember the standard
version was ruined, ever since Father Jean-

Marie Chang of Lourdes Church on Kisad
Road in Baguio had an epiphany many years ago,
and created a thirty-minute “fast-track” mass.

It started at noon and ended in enough time
so folks could make it to the all-you-can-eat
buffet at the Country Club, or back home

a few streets away before the chicken stew
even had a chance to cool. Tucking, trimming,
and compressing, he also delivered homilies no more

than five minutes long. I’m sure the bishops fumed,
but no one could deny his flock soon outnumbered
those at other churches. His busy, practical

parishioners soon learned to cut through
repetitious language, the God from Gods
and Light from Lights, the true God from

true Gods. He’d even thought to streamline
salvation for us (no longer for us men— all this
predating gender-speak). There are times though,

when I make a more conscious effort to slow down,
to remember those parts of the sonorous old language
that make me think of cool vaults and flying

buttresses; and beneath them the molten yellow
of candle flame. And at the altar, sacristans
swinging censers filled with burning incense,

tendrils of smoke stalled somewhere between
fluttering and soaring, just like the hundred
and more petitions of the faithful on their knees.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← Landscape, with Seemingly Unending RainThe word of the day →

Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.

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