In a City of Cathedrals, I Weep
I weep upon sight of the towering cross
each block there is a new monument risen by the faithful
to stand and remind passersby
that tithes and offerings can raise astonishing structures
and account for the maintenance
while cleansing your conscience and wallet.
Belief in the unseen isn’t impossible for me,
but it’s getting hard to continue practicing
worship for an entity
who damned us at conception.
How can I find peace in such hostility?
All these denominations standing
like hotspots on a city map
have a common outlook.
Chosen ones awaiting departure,
waving farewell to the unforgiven.
What if there is a Creator
who gets off on our torment,
events that could be prevented but play
because of will and destiny?
Is that love?
Perhaps we are entertainment
on the stage of a grand theater on opening night.
A night without end
for death just begins the next act
where roles are decided upon your behavior,
how much you’re willing to sacrifice.
When the eleventh day of the eleventh month comes
around, I am forced to relive the beginning of the end.
I still can hear the frantic cries of my dad on the phone
as he informed me that he was too late in saving Mom.
What we feared for months came into fruition with a wreck
that for us made all the clocks in the world come to a stop.
Others are celebrating veterans of wars on foreign soil
while I recall her internal battle with her brain tumor.
Cancer pulled the first shot to ignite months of struggle,
& it ultimately claimed her in the war, yet she is the victor.
This disease is like a bully that keeps finding more victims
to wear down until they no longer are themselves.
Mom has a new body where she’s at now & no longer needs
the broken shell that had no other choice but to crash.
When the Cardinal comes to Visit
It is said that when a loved one crosses planes
of consciousness & enter their new form,
they occasionally come back as a bird.
Cardinals are the commonly chosen hosts
for their red feathers are stark in the gray
skies which cover the lives of those in mourning.
Like a little girl tossed around among the crowd,
the cardinal fights its way through for a glimpse
& to deliver a message from beyond the treetops.
I hang special seed to attract only these kind
so I can feel my deceased ones’ presence
nearby whenever doing my best seems hard.
Several states share the cardinal as their official
bird to be treasured by all who watch with scopes;
we remain in eternal mourning in the Midwest.
Tim Heerdink is the author of six poetry collections, The Human Remains, Red Flag and Other Poems, Razed Monuments, Checking Tickets on Oumaumua, Ghost Map, Sailing the Edge of Time, I Hear a Siren’s Call, and the novel, Last Lights of a Dying Sun. Heerdink is president of the Midwest Writers Guild. His short stories, The Tithing of Man and HEA-VEN2, won first and second place in the guild’s annual anthology contests. He also has poems published in Poetry Quarterly, Fish Hook, Flying Island, Kissing Dynamite, Auroras & Blossoms, Tanka Journal, Landslide Lit, As It Ought To Be Magazine, Dumpster Fire, Alien Buddha, Voice Lux Journal, and various anthologies. He graduated from USI with a BA in English and resides in Newburgh, Indiana with his wife, daughter, dog, and two cats.