THE POOR SOULS THE PATRON OF PURGATORY

For St. Nicholas Tolentino

Taper thin as the dawn
You emptied yourself
To be filled with God

Who at the Consecration
Brought souls to you
Hungry for the light

And you heard
Their famished cries,
Blind mouths begging for

A star above the altar
You could see them
Dark flowers, rotting fruit.

Then you blessed
Each one by name
And saw them fly

Toward heaven—
Dismembered now
Your outstretched arms

Still, free souls caught
In the kingdom between
Bread and ashes.

- Philip C. Kolin

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