Terry Kirts


"An international group of Vatican-appointed
theologians is about to recommend that the
Catholic Church close the doors of limbo forever."

—Catholic News Service, December 2, 2005

Goodbye to the dim margin creeping with
stillborn bodies. So long to the playpen
of the unwashed and unwanted, the early
comers who had faith before it was named.
The hem has been drawn up into the dress;
the tunic, after all, was unrent. The lip,
wagging above the chasm, can claim
its ragged union with the mouth,
and the college of cherubs can absolve
the pacifists who did not fight against
the falling. Even the pagan has arranged
his inch of grass on that vast, well-treed
plain of eternity.
              Why, then, did we baptize
the baby robins we found abandoned
in their nest? Why the Hail Marys while
we flushed the goldfish? And what of all
the fathers of Israel, wandering all those years
in the desert of their hearts? Was Abraham's
bosom not broad enough to contain them?
The three dark days not enough for them
to slip through their bars? Surely theirs were
the burdens Christ bore in Gethsemane,
the paradise he promised his co-crucified,
after a comma. Shall we shut it like a mall
with its outdated shops, a tenement to bulldoze
for a parking lot?
              I want to think of it again
as in Catechism class when Sister Agatha drew
its borders in Technicolor strokes: all the elders
and martyrs in their grass skirts and Bermuda shorts
backbending toward heaven to the Banana Boat Song.