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Category archive for: Shane McCrae

The Animal Too Big to Kill

Lord I have eaten and I think I won’t

anymore eat  / Animals

many times my weight / In animals

enough that were they resurrected and combined

Like the heroic robot  in that cartoon I somehow always missed

And always looked  forward to as a child

Lord they would be an animal / Finally too big to kill

Except by You who would

Shatter the sky and hurl the burning blue whale-sized shards down to do it

Lord even though You wouldn’t have to break the sky to do it

And I accept I need to be reminded

I can’t escape responsibility

for being the kind of creature that requires signs Lord from You

Merely by now refusing to participate

in the killing of some of the sometimes instruments through which Your signs / Pass

as they pass through every creature  Lord and every object You I know

Killing the animal too big to kill would be a sign

And I accept I can’t escape being grateful for Your signs

Being the kind of creature

that requires Your signs  / Because You Lord have made me wondrous

Beginning with my always I imagine it to be

an ugly mush but really it’s

I think I’ve read  / Harder than that

brain and the thinking it might someday do

Because Lord I might someday think

Until that day and after  I require signs / Lord and I can’t escape

being grateful for Your signs

Because my body not my brain responds to them  and You I know

Killing the animal too big to kill would be a sign

Lord as I took it for a sign

When fifteen years ago I prayed to be convinced

and drove to the monastery in Mount Angel and

Two tall firs

across from each other on either side of the narrow road to the monastery

Were struck by lightning

rare Oregon lightning on a barely misting afternoon

And fell across the road and Lord I couldn’t leave

I took it for a sign  and I believed

And that was when  the moment when  I understand the language now

The moment I was born again

The moment I believed I

Had seen God kill for me

Lord was the moment I became a human being

As You I know

killing the animal too big to kill would be a sign

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Copyright © Persea Books 2016
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

With Every Gesture

I haven’t Lord I haven’t You I have-

n’t praised enough You Lord although I with or would

With every poem praise You every  breath and eve-

ry gesture praise you Lord and many in the months

In the first months

After I Lord converted after I  / Lord reconciled myself with my conversion many days

I started by invoking You Your

name  / As I had learned to do in catechism

At the beginnings of my prayers

So that the day would be a prayer

And every gesture  I made in the day

Believing

I could stay / Cool  in the hot day

by running in the shadow of a cloud

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Copyright © Persea Books 2016
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

On the First Day of the Last Week of His Life Jesus Overturns the Tables of the Money-Changers

I wrote to a friend yesterday and told him my new poems were

About or I was trying to say

Something about money to God

I think and I don’t understand it why I think it Lord You don’t

Understand money

but of course You do / And maybe even

Lord if You were You You on Earth used money maybe You

Didn’t just overturn the tables of the money-changers

Maybe You sometimes ached to not

Lord have enough for even a few figs / Maybe You hated figs and always had or always the

Conditioned always of a life here

hated figs / And maybe figs were usually

The cheapest food available and still You sometimes didn’t have enough

Maybe You suffered in Your body first the suffering of in Your body Lord

Inhabiting Your poverty

Maybe Your body Lord was shaped by foods You hated

Maybe You sometimes walking to the market / Felt everybody even only

for a moment / Glancing at You

knew Lord You lived on figs

Lord and You hated figs and always had

And on the day You overturned the tables of the money-changers

You also cursed a fig tree never to produce / Fruit again

because You had come to it hungry Lord

and found it barren

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Copyright © Persea Books 2016
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Mary Massages His Feet with Perfume Worth What a Worker Makes in a Year

I would have Lord as Judas did wondered and maybe if

I had been brave as Judas was

I might have said / Something about it why the

Perfume Mary massaged Your feet with wasn’t / Instead

sold and the money given to the poor

A few years back I worked Lord in a factory making

parts for truck / Engines I think I wasn’t sure then and I’m not sure now

I didn’t mind the work except the standing hurt my feet

It got so bad eventually I had to quit

I was a temp anyway and I didn’t care what the boss thought / I didn’t

know who the boss was but

I didn’t want to disappoint the agency

still / Eventually it got so bad I had to quit

But at the last station I worked for the first time I got to sit

Nobody told me Lord I could

Nobody told me Lord I couldn’t I just grabbed a stool and sat

Like anything I made there Lord I couldn’t tell You now what

The name of the thing I made there was

But sparks flew from the machine and burned my forearms

past my gloves / And Lord I didn’t mind the sparks I got to sit

I got to sit Lord at that station for I think

a good ten minutes / Before a worker I had never met

Threw her gloves down and walked from her

Station across the floor / To tell me not to sit on my ass anymore

And then she walked off somewhere disappeared in the pallet stacks

I hadn’t said anything back / Or honestly I might have said Okay

Not drawn out quick and scared

She was the only woman I ever saw

close to my age on the floor

After she disappeared / A man who worked at her station at

her table slithered over asked me / What she had said

and said she was a bitch and told me not to worry

But after that I didn’t sit

That was the day I quit / I tell You now I know it Lord it love is truly is

Stronger than hate

Only for those who can afford it

from The Animal Too Big To KillFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2016
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.