Religious Objects – a poem by Kali Lightfoot

Religious Objects
 
The year I was sixteen, I carried
The Book of Common Prayer everywhere—
on the city bus home from school,
in library study hall, alone in my room,
hoping God might see it and talk to me.
 
Statues of Mary posing by a scallop shell graced
lawns around town. Though native to warmer
climes, she stood steady through rain, snow,
and sleet like a carrier to deliver spiritual mail;
answers to prayers of faithful homeowners.
 
After college I left the Christian trinity behind,
first for Unitarian humanism, then for Buddha—
Buddhas on the altar table in my home, posters
of the Bodhisattva, and my personal favorite
Parking Buddha so useful on Boston streets.
 
Later came Kashmir Shaivism: bracelets
of rudraksha beads, and our Guru
wielding peacock feathers like a queen’s
sword, her taps on bowed shoulders urging
devotees to a state of enlightenment.
 
Are we the only animals who worry about gods?
Do ravens choose shiny trinkets to anchor
their belief in the ineffable? Does a whale
sometimes filter sea water, not for krill
and plankton but for a taste of the sacred?

Kali Lightfoot lives in Salem, MA. Her poems and reviews of poetry have appeared in journals and anthologies, been nominated twice for Pushcart, and once for Best of the Net. Her debut poetry collection, Pelted by Flowers, is available from CavanKerry Press (https://cavankerrypress.org/product/pelted-by-flowers/ ). Kali earned an MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Find her at kali-lightfoot.com.

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