On Easter, I am early for the Mass,
And I am feeling restless in my pew.
I take a walk, admiring the view
Of all the brilliant windows that I pass,
Whose figured forms are prophecy in glass,
Then I see a man alone, near the back,
Beneath an exit sign, watching the scene.
Down at his feet he has a bulging pack
With room to hold a light AR-15
And all the rounds that he would need to kill
The lot of us. I wonder if he will.

He could be homeless, heading out of town,
Or bringing Easter presents to his girls,
But in my mind the bloody carnage swirls.
Returning to my seat, I look around
To plot out my escape then, glancing down,
I see myself there, prostrate on the floor;
I’m clutching at my side, where I’ve been shot.
There’s no way I could make it to the door.
I could try to stop him, but that would not
End well. His seat is much too far away.
The Mass begins, and I begin to pray.

Still, my eyes keep returning to that man.
I’m wary every time that he stands up,
Thinking as I take the Communion cup
That this is not the proper time to scan
The crowd. If he’s intent upon this plan
Then I will die, fallen by the altar,
Relinquishing the fruitful life I’ve led,
Grieving all the times that I would falter,
And nourished by the gift of living bread.
But when I turn around, the man’s not there.
“Oh Christ,” I whisper to his empty chair.