You and Monseñor

by Mark Chmiel

You and Monseñor are alike in two obvious respects
To me anyway

You both have expansive hearts for the people
You may say

“But you know many people with big hearts”
That’s true

But the other respect
I don’t know anyone else

In my circles of life
Like you

Who had an experience
Like Monseñor —

Not people who’ve been on
Some tough front lines

Not people who spent months
Or years in jails and prisons–

Monseñor received communications
That were death threats

(The infamous flier in those days
“Be a Patriot Kill a Priest”)

So you received such communications
Not too long ago from an ex-

Each morning in the face of those threats
You had the courage

To stand up
Take the next step

Like Monseñor
Countless farmers

Catechists and organizers
LGBTs and unionists

Wives and lawyers
Salvadorans and people all over the world

Who have faced and still face
Death threats

Your own heart’s agony accompanies
Others’ heart’s agonies

Some people want to see Monseñor canonized
I just want to have lunch with you

When sitting outside in the sun
We can both chant:

Gracias a la vida
Que me ha dado tanto

–from work-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

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