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palm sunday is for lovers

by Bob Arcania

Anything is better than nothing: as far as anything is cupped
in your lily palms, and if nothing
were a bent palm frond.

And I remember standing in church on Palm Sunday morning, kneeling.
Father Brieze spoke of Jesus on the cross, and I folded together
the palm fronds, creating a long braid, as long as how I was sitting.
I tacked the braid to my bulletin board and watched it dry
across days and I never believed he died for my sins.

So I watched the other boys—kneel—sit—stand.
I wondered their sins aloud, created new ones—
the taut shapes my fingers
made against my skin, the way the edges of the palm fronds dug

like the edges of paper. With each braid a boy sinned against his mother,
kissed too passionately, believed the Big Bang to be a hell of a blast.

And I remember smiling as I imagined waking up next to each, a seesaw
in their arms, and my boots
in their entryway as those mothers stirred breakfast;
a palm frond wrapped tight to their bedpost like a rigid white flag.


Author's Note: being raised Catholic means never having to say you're sorry?

Posted on 12/28/2008
Copyright © 2022 Bob Arcania

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 12/28/08 at 09:17 PM

Or saying sorry a million times too many. It seems to go either way. Great stuff, man.

Posted by Anita Mac on 12/30/08 at 06:04 AM

Or never having to mean your sorry?... Either way, a brilliant piece... I keep rolling you lines over my mind to feel their full intent. Wonderful.

Posted by Nanette Bellman on 12/31/08 at 02:08 AM

LOVE, love, LOVE the author's note. i too was raised catholic till i broke away from it and have wondered the same things.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 03/29/11 at 06:38 PM

Yes, Christ died for our sins. And yes, we have to say I'm sorry--even if your Catholic. Or at least if you are a devout one. This poem is a cry for understanding most of all I believe.

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