My Holy Ghost

My head was pounding
My body ached
I was a stumbling, mumbling wreck
I needed help
And badly
And decided, what the heck

I ventured to St. Peter’s
to get warm from the snows
You see, I’m not really religious
and the truth, the church was close

I sat there in stoned silence
My head just throbbing silently
I didn’t even notice the woman
Who slid in next to me

She nodded, and knelt down a bit
You could hear her when she rose
Her body racked with aches and pain
Like me, from head to toe

She smiled, started praying
I sat dead still, but listened in
It’s not because I am religious
I wanted to hear her sin

She finished, rose and smiled
Lit a candle on her way
I smiled back through cloudiness
I didn’t have that much to say

I figured I could try it,
I’m one for anything new
I mean, talking out to no one
What harm could my talk do

“Dear father, forgive me for my sin
Our father”… I tried to start
“Just say what’s in your insides son
That’s the best way for a start”

Behind me, sat the woman
I didn’t hear her come on back
“He’s listening for all you ask
He’ll get you back on track”

I told her, I just came in
To get dry and get warm
She smiled, said “so, while you’re here”
“tell your tale, wait out the storm”

I said it would be worthless
I was past the point of no return
I would not go up to heaven
I was going where you burn

She said “Everyone is worth redemption”
“Even though they do not think”
“They are still a child of Jesus”
“He’ll return you from the brink”

I sat and talked for hours
Told her all about my woes
She got up twice, lit more candles
I told her of my highs and lows

She said “regardless of your preference”
“God, won’t ask your name”
“You do not need a reference”
“And you’ll be really glad you came”

She told me how to start a prayer
To share my story with the Lord
I knelt, followed directions
I was really quite absorbed

I finished, rose and turned to her
There was now a man where she had sat
I asked him if he saw her
In her black scarf and blue hat

He said “The seat was empty”
“I saw no lady there”
I said “a little lady”
“with black and silver hair”

He smiled, said “come this way”
He took me out into the hall
And there I saw her picture
In a frame upon the wall

“She died so many years ago”
“She died of well, a broken heart”
“Her son’s died in the Great War”
“It tore her soul apart”

“But I saw her, she was talking”
“She taught me how to pray”
“She was as close to me as I to you”
“She taught me what to say”

He said “son, she’s no longer here”
“she’s the one who comes the most”
“she finds souls who need redemption”
“She’s our church’s holy ghost”

I thanked him, head still reeling
I would have to think on this a while
But, as I left, I took one more look
And I’m sure I saw her smile.

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