“And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘Were you not strong enough to watch with me one hour?’”

Matthew 26:40, The New Testament: A Translation for Latter-day Saints, by Thomas A. Wayment

The Poem

I gift my anger to the atmosphere
within your chapel—high church
cloak for true-blue sinners.
With hand over heart, I bow
before the monstrance—
sacred vessel for your lingering.

Every time I watch with you,
I feel my hatred rise, steam
to the surface. Heatwaves
billow from arms bracing
for the temple captain
who wields his cudgel
against the profane.
I seek to hide my anger,
but you bid me let it
out. Let it storm.

I daydream of playing
Cain to a bratty Abel.
Your solemn counsel:
“Beware the beaten man
whose heart still beats.”
My vile reply, “I pray
he only hurts himself.”

Curse me!
You don’t, though
I have made Mary wish
for me to skip the wedding
feast. I have left Abraham
begrudging the angel
who spared me on
patriarchy’s altar.

My anger like a film
covers and dulls
the luster of holiness:
white paint turns waxy;
satin tablecloth yellows;
wool carpet petrifies.
I press my feet against
the oily baseboard—
concealer of cracks.
I grin my anger at you,
shining like the gold
leaf on your crucifix. Still,

you breathe back crosswinds
of shalom. Your gentle hymn
chimes down from tower bells.
Ever the traitor, I yawn.
Peter, James, and John roll
their eyes in Heaven.
“One measly hour, brother”

How can they judge me,
who sinned out the path
like running drops of blood?
My anger is for your beloved,
O God. Am I not also the sweat
from your pores? Your dross?
Make me into sweet wine!
Lay me up before the day
when all matter dissolves
like this hour you require.

Poet’s Notes

This poem is based on my experiences attending Eucharistic Adoration at the local Roman Catholic parish. It’s a good place to sit quietly and wrestle. I also encourage you to try my first piece on this subject, which includes a tie-in to the Psalm of Nephi: Crashing Eucharistic Adoration. Reactions are welcome in the comments section below. Thank you for reading!