I Too Bye and Bye

.
I wondered as a kid brimming
sixteen year old condescension
I wondered from the last row of pews
in church waiting for Saturday confession
dim light, late sun through stained glass
piercing, red votives up front flickering
at the altar’s right, old men and women
randomly here and there in oak rows
in black babushkas, dresses, or suits
as if god had peppered the nave
all sitting or kneeling, all still but lips
saying rosary, murmuring Slovak

………….. “Svätá Mária matka Božia,”
and so on to
……………………. “amen.”
the end
of the Hail Mary prayer
which by repetitive osmosis
is the only Slovak I almost never
memorized
………………….…..anyway,
I wondered why.  I
now know (I too
bye and bye).

Jim Culleny
9/27/19