Fidgety little bits

Fidgety little bits
at Mass in scratchy
vernal colored garb
disturb the ritual solemnity
with gay abandon.

The monsignor intones
a wandering homily.
I'm not following
a word of it.
I lost the thread
some time ago-
years in fact.

And yet I signed
my own kids up
for the whole program--
catechism and all the sacraments,
just another car trip
like soccer and ballet--
before we knew their names.

This Easter they sit
and do not fight (for once).
One row before me
a toddler waddles
from auntie to grandma,
the length of the pew.
His amble's interrupted
by his dad, with snacks.

The mass drones on and on.
"Be as a little child"
a distant voice insists.
The boy rolls cereal
along the missal ledge
intently as an ant.

There is more wisdom
in a Cheerio--
the perfect circle, the profound void
of the hole at the center,
the innocence of doctrine
that lines them up for leisured eating --
than in a dozen homilies.

I missed the gospel
and the homily,
forgot to stand until
a spousal elbow
interrupted my reverie.

I'd come to church
as angry as a wasp
at some dim bishop's
political cant.

I left as innocent
as a lion-cuddled lamb,
grasping the hands
of my two children

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