I follow meander of Sunday sermon—
quenching drops of eloquent phrases
others waterfall out in a tumble
fill my ears with rush of ways,

reasons to love our neighbor.
His smile that crooked crinkled
smile like phrase marking
over line of notes insists, bids me

open my heart, my pockets, innocent hands.
Questions unfurl inside incense clouded church—
will my neighbor love me back, extend a caring arm,
share his wallet, lift me up when I slip

on icy Main Street? He seems to hear my queries
proclaims the commandment even louder.
Points to metal poor box waiting for clink
of coin, rolled paper dollar.

His stare fixates on me, puts a bridle on my queries
Love your neighbor rings torrents loud then
Father’s sudden whisper discards as yourself
What would it feel like Father to as yourself?

Don’t know how it happened but
I began to caress my bandaged thumb
hear feet skip-a-skip to Dairy Queen
for ice-cream cone after Mass,

feel shoulders proud after winning Friday spelling bee.
I suddenly become so luxuriant-light.
Think I might lift from wooden pew
float away like petals of a daisy.
I look up at him searchingly.
Father, what if I as yourself first and that self-loving
smelts me from ore to shining copper?
And then when I know my as yourself

I will want to shine it, and others may be curious,
choose to smelt themselves as well?
Father, it could be a glittering party
As yourself-ers loving our neighbors.

After teaching in Hong Kong, Marianne Lyon returned to the Napa Valley. She is published in literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters, and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize, (2017). She is a member of the California Writers Club and Adjunct Professor at Touro University, California.