The icon of Saint Anthony of Egypt,
the first solitary and the first monastic of the church’s recognition
Egg tempera on plaster and carved wood, Mount Athos, 2000
The Oratory on Grape Street
The candle is lit, white and cold – the wax not yet
pooled as liquid nor even yet soft and gooey.
The small, round cushion is up under my butt on a large dog bed
so that my knees and ankles are softly held beneath me.
The light is new from a rising sun, soft like… soon… the candle wax.
A soft bell. The screen says 892 of us are meditating with the
Insight Meditation app.
It is time to meet the One Who Is.
What will He think of me?
“Lord Jesus Christ,
Son of the Living God.
Have mercy on me.”
I leave off the “a sinner” part.
It need not be spoken.
The way children and parents
need not confess to each other,
how much improvement there could be
in their friendship. It’s understood.
“You’ve come” says the One.
“I was hoping you would.”
” I have been here all morning.”
I say, defensive, reactive, insecure.
“I know, but you were so busy.
I wanted you to look at me.
Really be with me.”
“Well. I am here, now.
But I only have 15 minutes.”
“What do you want to talk about?
“Nothing.” Says the One.
“I just want to sit with your beauty.”
I am silent to this. Ashamed of
not being perfect.
“You don’t need to be.” Says the One
with annoying clairvoyance.
“Show off!” I think to myself.
‘Well, enough chit chat.”
I say, “What do we need to discuss?”
“I know. You only have 15 minutes.
You are a very busy humanoid.
I love you, you know.”
And the meditation app bell rings.
The soft wax sings as an artifact
And we sit together a bit more.
Gazing at each other, tired.
Like lovers, reaching,
for a cigarette.