They pull the early-model compact in
Rusty but clean
Set the brake, kill the engine.
On either side, in front, in back
Empty cars sit locked
On the asphalt patch
Awaiting the return of their drivers
Shoppers, merchants, bureaucrats,
Shirazis on the move.

Before the police arrive
Or the prying eyes of the mullahs
Ooze their reflexive threats,
She digs a tattered paper from her purse,
Farsi from a printer low on toner.
He bows his head subtly near the steering wheel.
Her melodious chant is joined by the counterpoint
Of distant siren, honking bus, downshifting semi.

From a concourse unseen to all but them
Angels swarm and swirl down
From precincts on high
Lights and suns explode overhead
In a sacred joyous riot.
Choristers robed in spun silver dive
To shout their affirmations into the ears
Of the parking attendant.
A cigarette dangles his indifference.
The handmaidens of light
Streaming jet trails of rubies and emeralds behind them
Circle majestically around the parking lot
That the city built
When the government
Tore down the home
Of a long-dead
but unauthorized

She dries her tears.
He kisses her hand
Starts the car, circles the lot.
Blessed is the spot.


–for Joe Fradella

One comment on “Pilgrimage

  1. Brenda says:


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