And She Will Gather Us

Cupping lips with mitted hands to summon us
inside, she offers fresh-baked bread wafting
                                                                                                over our clamor,

some of us debating decades-old wounds
such as who broke the china Mom left behind,
                                                                                                priceless, irreplaceable,

some of our hands guiltily empty    because we forgot
promised sides. And there, new neighbors won’t stop


from barstools about inside jokes they won’t explain,
and we don’t understand. We miss her pug, passed


too soon last fall, regret snapping when fur
blanketed her freshly-vacuumed floors. Still,

                                                                                                from cypress trees

she calls us, even wealthy cousins whispering
about who wore the worst outfits, from her garden

                                                                                              she calls us

as we’re comparing egg hunt harvests, kids yelling
over ten dollar bills. Unveiled in a crowded kitchen

                                                                                                in springtime,

brownies, apple pies, key limes breathe holy
aromas, just-clipped pale hyacinths crowning

                                                                                                  her table.

A neighbor cusses through her blessing, his fault
for pushing past me to steal a better seat, gravy

                                                                                                 spilling over

his too-thick necktie. Alleuia, Christ rose, can we
eat before we crucify each other? She smiles, says

                                                                                                amen, every year

our table grows. Yes, maybe someone rose, maybe
they didn’t. What I really love is these loaves steaming

                                                                                               as she pushes them

in front of flowers, fitting more plates, pulling
porch chairs for others who might come hungry

                                                                                             out of their tombs.



Amy Cerniglia is the director of music and organist at Peace Presbyterian Church in Bradenton, Florida. Her writing has been published in The Presbyterian Outlook, The American Organist, and The Hymn Society’s new
collection, Songs for the Holy Other. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Divinity at The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
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