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St. Joseph, Abscondus

He's missing from the only kind of heaven
We have left in Homestead—the plate-headed saint
Who stood sentinel above Saint Michael's,

Dozing on duty through the great dismantling
Of the mills, and then that of the congregation,
The days of solemn supplication piling up.

The diocese has been busy cutting losses ever since,
Saint Mary's the first to close, her biblical picture
Windows sold as well as the copper downspouts,

The basement now mosaicked with mold.
To which negligence you can add Saint Michael's,
Boarded up, its statue missing as if derelict

Or salvaged from the masthead of the wreckage.

Robert Gibb

Prairie Schooner

Summer 2013

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