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The Land of Give and Take by Tyler Farrell

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Mass in Rice Lake, Wisconsin

Farrell, Tyler

My mother-in-law
knows all the angles
when it comes to
negotiating Saturday night
mass schedules and times.
Even without running water
she still looks pure
and virginal readying
herself to pray
for all the sinners
in her life, including myself.
Her husband always
says she hasn’t met
a kneeler she didn’t like.
And the kids pile out
of the car. I grab
my book and head
for the Saturday pizza
place while the rest sit
through a long Mass
filled with songs and words,
the old people standing,
then sitting in trance.
Ladies in white robes, voices
from the choir loft
as the priest clears
his throat and adjusts
his microphone. Before
I leave she says to me,
“I think we’ll get out
in an hour. But you never know
with confirmation season.”
So I sit in the pizza place,
drinking a beer, reading
my book while waiting
for someone to complain
that I have twelve seats
saved for the Catholics
on their way for reward.
Lord only knows when
they will arrive.

Copyright © Tyler Farrell 2012

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