Five Retablos


Lord of small disappointments,
you stand beside an empty mailbox,
an egg with broken yolk
in the skillet that tips
from your drooping left hand.
In the upraised palm
of your right hand rests
a crumpled lottery ticket.
Behind you the grass
needs cutting.


Lord of forgiveness, lord
of the open door, your welcome
mat is out, the wine
uncorked. You wink
at us and nod toward
the tethered fatted calf
readied for slaughter.


Lord of forgetfulness, clothed
in a robe with a dozen empty pockets,
on the ground around you
a shopping list, a ring
of keys, a birthday card,
an old photo of a young
man. Your face
is blurred and your fist
grips tight a bouquet,
forget-me-nots for no one
in memoriam.


Lord of no fortune, your silver
sunglasses hide snake eyes
but mirror the aces and eights
that bloom in one hand
and the credit cards fanned
in the other. In the background
is a harbor, on the horizon a ship
so small who can tell
if it’s coming in
or setting sail. Our Lady
stands beside you, flips
a coin, and smiles.


Lord of sorrows, hands
outstretched, empty, wounded
eyes, the weeping
shake of shoulders in off-
the-rack sackcloth.
You will not protect us
from ourselves,
and you will not prevent us
from praying. You open
your arms as if saying
“I have nothing, I have
nothing here for you.”