Preface to the Poem

At night, I excommunicate the mugginess in my room. Placing a fan on a chair, I blow the air across my bed toward a cracked window. This soothes me into sleep. But as the night grows late, or as the morning grows early, the cooling becomes chill and the soothing becomes shiver.

And Ye Clothed Me

In my dream,
after a long day
by the highway side,
nostalgia pulled me heartstrings-first
to a great and spacious LDS Institute.

Rumor had prophesied a special fireside;
even aging singles would not be forsaken.
Yet, once inside…
so many rooms held
so many meetings.

I was unfamiliar—
a stranger there
wandering the building,
growing cold despite the bright glow
above and the soft carpet below.

Shivering in the overflow, I discovered
I was naked, but none dared confront.
I slumped on the carpet,
against a clean back wall,
shivering and hoping

I’d found the right place.
All others avoided
my telestial skin,
as the fireside began; I crumpled shaking,
encircled in the icy robe of my shame.

Why had I not been shocked to waking
by this dream’s blizzard of disgrace?
I had been noticed.
A front-row single,
valiant in her faith,

stood and pulled
the pristine cloth
from the sacrament table.
She passed it billowing cloud-like, over
the chapel made crystal by eyes averting,

to where I huddled below an exit sign.
The cloth settled soft and exquisite,
felt of compassion,
knit of relief,
warming the sufferer up.

I started to cry,
as brothers and sisters
moved closer by.
Applause erupted in the sacrament room,
for the good Samaritan; we felt and knew

she’d sent the cloth not to cover my abashment
but to warm me. Cheered by her compassion,
I ceased to fear
the cold walk home,
for she clothed me.


Poet’s Note:

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