At Sunday Mass

Through the high long narrow
Windows
I can see trees
Not the ground
Not the sky
Just branches and leaves
Through the windows

As the Mass moves
In stately predicable rhythm
Call and response
Hymns and prayers
Familiar patterns

The priest
A man, always a man
In this big C Catholic
Church
Leads us, of course
Being the designated hitter
Like major league baseball
Still exclusive of women
Unlike baseball, though, his team is women
Ushers, servers, communicants
Mostly women
Serving before the altar
Of priestly man-ness

I want to stop with God
With those trees
The green leaves
The softening sunshine
I want my mind to rest
In the Divine
I want a luxurious pause
A time out
I want to be put in a corner
With God

But the man keeps
Intruding
In his fancy lace-trimmed
Vestments
With his memorized ritual
His prominence
His permanence
His his-ness

I want the God, the Goddess of trees
But here I am
Standing, sitting, singing, saying
“Something, something be with you”
He says
Every Sunday I hear it
Every Sunday I mumble
With the others, stretching out my hands
Palms up
“And also with your spirit”
We say
Every Sunday
You’d think I’d remember the words

Ah, but I am never really here, am I?
Sometimes when I am lucky
I am quietly with the trees
But mostly
Mostly, I am simply raging
Raging at the ungodliness of it all

And I am more with the Grateful Dead
Than with the trees
Or the ordained priest
Or his eternal God
“If I had my way, if I had my way
I would tear this whole building down.”

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