We slowly edged forward,
some were troubled by the two marble steps but still ascended,
The tall man bent on a cane,
the hooded teenager
The old woman who talked to herself with a smile
The former Principal back stiff as a board
still casting his eye over the room.
Every one of us dropped to our knees,
our necks presented like swans waiting for some axe to fall.
It never did, hands cupped as if taking water
at some mountain brook.
I kept my eyes open, watched as the clergy intoned
The blood of Christ …
and God laid his hand over all of us.