1. Sister Mary Appassionata To The Introductory Astronomy Class: Heartbeat And Mass, Every Last Breath

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the
heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be
for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.

For every moment of light we win,
each beat of the heart in each heat
of the race, Old Sol sheds 4 million tons
of mass. In a mere 8 billion years

we’ll be nothing but chunks of glacier
hurtling like manholes blown from sewers
through light years of limitless dark.
To live means bearing out these days

like candles through drafty mansions
while above us angry stars hiss like
garlic cloves in smoking olive oil,
souls racing down their wicks. Beyond

days and nights where can we be?
Each inhalation means we’ve won reprieve.
Each exhalation means the only sentence
long and short enough to fit the crime.
2. Sister Mary Appassionata To The Bible In Translation Class: Rite Of Purification
To turn every light back on
in the house where someone of
your own tribe by his own hand
grew heavy enough with despair to
fall through his shadow, to cleanse

the hands you used in loving one
who felt loving you was but an act
or rite, brew over a fire on which
a shadow’s never fallen the water
of purification squeezed from

the fat of a heifer without spot
who’s known no yoke, blood of
parturition, spit and sweat of
an honest day’s work, tears of love
old and brakish as the primal sea.

Stand in sun to make your shadow
do all that you do. Bathe the parts
lost to selfishness, scour the stain
of hurting others. You and shadow,
dance the sin away; drink what’s left.

Remember: like cures like. Hurt
and curse can be purged only by
the flood of remembering, rite of
keeping alive the spirit of every dead,
living for the holy wind of every right word.