Apples from Eden

Father Berrigan ate an apple from stem to seeds.
That is a man who has lived in prison,
whispered Ma.

I wondered about cyanide in seeds. I wondered
about blood on files and missiles, the Baltimore Four,
the Catonsville Nine, all during the time

he sat, long-limbed,
talking, planning to act again.

His brother also a priest. Thorns
in the church’s claws. Blunt swords
in its spleen. And now

he sits, reclaiming apples from Eden.

The church declines to saint them.



Jennifer McGowan


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