Catholic Church

by E. A. Greenwell


I remember cold water placed by all the exits.

Every morning, the sink becomes a white bowl

Of water I have blessed. I am not ordained.

I have days and days of shit caking my boots.

My gums bleed a carelessness as I brush them.

Eventually, soon, they’ll bleed out completely.

You are nothing, says the mirror full of steam.

I wipe at it, fruitlessly, and for once it’s okay

to be blurry, to leave the old razor and hand soap

alone, to go out where horses are congregating

where sky is really the one to make up walls

as it always does, has, and for once it’s okay.


greenwellRecipient of Writing in the Wild and Port Townsend Writers’ Conference fellowships from the University of Idaho, E. A. Greenwell was the 2016-2017 PEN/Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident. His work has appeared in Boston Review, Terrain.orgMoss, and is forthcoming from Poet Lore and Common Ground Review. He lives in Eastern Oregon, where he works with tribes, NGOs, government entities, and private landowners to conserve land.