October 31, 2017

Jeff Whitney

THE BLESSING

Las Vegas Shooter’s Room in Mandalay Bay Hotel Blessed by Catholic Priest
—Newsweek headline, 10/25/17

Even the ants in the walls
are Catholic, on all knees
& hauling in their mouths
the dead home, rising
between floors toward
heaven. If there is wind
it is from the window-
less part of the room
where a hole ten butterflies wide
whistles the whole night
more silent. And a man
speaking for the living.
Isn’t this all we can do? Wait
for diamonds. Clutch someone’s
heart. In the desert a star
means luck. Some nights
after a bad beat or run
of jacks you might hear them
falling and believe you are hearing
the first word echoed back,
the blessing that says
tonight in this shining city
even the stars will drop.
Buckets of the rarest coin.

from Poets Respond
October 31, 2017

[download audio]

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Jeff Whitney: “This poem responds to a Newsweek headline that was published this week: ‘Las Vegas Shooter’s Room in Mandalay Bay Hotel Blessed by Catholic Priest.’ It was so difficult not to imagine the really quite unusual scene that must have taken place.” (website)

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