Chapel at 6:30 a.m.
The shadows gyrate and shift,
moving left to right on the
dimness of the chapel wall
as he lumbers in, newest shadow
heading for the toggle switch
and the popping of lights above.
Alone at 6:30 he has entered
the morning, and in the state
of his fog, struggles for a prayer
suitable, and settles on a mumbled
Hail Mary as he plunks down onto
his wooden bench, and absent-mindedly
reaches for a Kleenex to alleviate
his swollen sinuses.
He sits with God.
The half-awake old man with the
Calibrator of the universe.
And yet he is centered in the
gaze of the One who is center
to all things laminated with
brightness and beauty.
Fr. Robert Phelps, O.F.M. Cap. has been a Capuchin friar for 63 years and a priest for almost 55 years. He served for 26 years in the territory of Guam in the western Pacific, and for 14 years in Hawaii. He began to write creatively when on a private retreat in a rainforest near Lahaina, Maui, in 1991. He has one full-length book of poems, In the Hug of a Sun that has Stopped, published by Lion Autumn Music Co.; two chapbooks, Ever and Point of View. published by Finishing Line Press; and one e-book, Incessancy, published by Book Baby. He lives in a community of friars in Beacon, New York.