Praying the Rosary for Jacob
by Nick Allen Herink
Nick Allen Herink

Nick Allen Herink is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Nick has previously been published by the Catholic Daughters of America, Pank Magazine and Laurus for which he received the Editor's Choice Award for Outstanding Poetry.

St. James/Seton Chapel—Omaha, Nebraska
November 4, 1998

They are
sent in
he follows last, twill pants chaffing against his chubby thighs.
He crosses himself with the holy water
drawn with his index and middle fingers—
left—right, he's done this before.

He sits in the pew with the others in their piss yellow polos,
a younger boy has wet himself and begins to cry,
the older ones squeal for a moment,
hushed by Sister Kirkpatrick and her glass eye.
Sister Donovan leads the dripping child from the chapel,
and they are left with their silence.

They twiddle the beads in their fingers,
he rubs his thumb over the steel statuette of Christ on the cross.
Brother Rafael speaks—
Do not be angry.
Hail Marry full of grace the Lord is with thee.
Your anger will do nothing.
Blessed art thou among women,
Perhaps Jacob made peace before death.

He rubs the steel statuette with his thumb, as his other fingers tangle in the beads—
pulling the string tight so they turn purple and blue.
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
We must pray for Jacob's salvation
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for our sinners,

He is not listening to the monk who stands at his pulpit.
Only through our intercessions may Jacob have eternal life.
Now and at the hour of our death.

He is rubbing at Christ's twisted torso as his fingers are strangled in the knot he has made.

The young boy returns with dry pants,
Sister Donovan following closely behind. Amen.

What do you think? Please send us your comments, including the name of the work you are commenting on.