I live with my two dogs on the edge of the university research forest, where I walk everyday and think and pray. I have taught at Oregon State University since 1986 and have been a Catholic deacon since 1987. I have written a number of books, including two books of poetry. My second book of poems, THE NEXT THING ALWAYS BELONGS, was published in 2011 by Airlie Press.
When I Hear My Daughter’s Voice on the Radio
When I hear my daughter’s voice on the radio, clear and light
and true, I think of St. Clare, who is the patron saint of broadcasting,
because once when she was ill and couldn’t leave the monastery,
she saw faint, ghostly images of the mass flickering on the wall
of her cell. The raising of the cup. The pious villagers, looking up.
She is the patron saint of absence. Of distance. In Assisi once
I saw what they claimed was her ash blonde hair, great, thick curls
of it, heaped in a glass box with a golden lid, and I see no reason
this couldn’t be true, this couldn’t be hers, across all the centuries.
We saw the shoes of St. Francis, too, tiny, like slippers, stained
with blood, and the coarse brown habit he wore, and on the mountain,
in a cave, the narrow shelf where he slept, curled up like a baby.
There’s no telling what it is possible for us to feel. I think of the day
Maggie and I were walking by the track at the middle school—
she was four—and before I knew it she was running. She had decided
to take off. When I looked up I saw her in the distance, rounding
the curve, her little arms pumping, her wispy hair floating behind her.
As if she was really going somewhere. As if she would ever return.
-first published in Pleiades
©2015 Chris Anderson