“For the least of these”

Goods in their stolen shopping carts piled high,
the homeless labor down this frozen street,
and there but for the grace of God go I.
Replete after my feast of wine and meat
I fall asleep, dreaming of squeaking wheels.
Tonight Fargo must feed three thousand meals.


Lenten Duties

Last night I delved deep into David’s Psalms.
     Needing to gain some weight
     I musn’t fast, but fate
granted me ample means for giving alms.

Prayer has salvific power when it calms
     the wild spirit within
     or expiates a sin.
Kneeling, I shape a steeple with my palms.


A Breakfast

For flatbread crackers innocent of leaven,
     red salmon caviar,
     cream cheese and cucumber
I thank Thee, Lord, then die and go to heaven.


The Contender

I’ve so many transgressions to repent
I am my Pastor’s poster boy for Lent.

Timothy Murphy, a frequent contributor to Commonweal, died on June 30 at his home in Fargo, North Dakota. His books include Very Far North (2002), Mortal Stakes and Faint Thunder (2011), and Devotions (2017). Requiescat in pace.

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Published in the March 24, 2017 issue: View Contents
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