The spirits that begot the wind and rain
Left Lake Apopka centuries ago with the Indians;
Then the round-faced earth gods
That brought a bountiful harvest,
No longer came,
As the migrants who carried them were forbidden to return;
Even the long- indentured angels,
Have earned their release from skeptics like me.
I thought the only magic left was the industrial kind
From down the road in Disney World,
Where, for the price of a good used car,
Parents can spare their kids the trouble of dreaming for themselves.
But in the dark center of Winter Garden,
As the crowd counts down to the lighting of the towering Christmas tree
“Three, two, one,”
And a galaxy of lights blazes on,
Plant Street trembles with applause.
Included is the delight of a delicate strawberry blond
In a pink princess dress,
Which the grandma who holds her had especially made
With ribbons and butterflies.
In the child’s screech of pure joy,
And the clapping of her right hand,
Against the stump where her left hand should be;
There is all the magic we need.
I came, after Sunday Mass, to the Church of the Resurrection,
A church so white and antiseptic
A saint would wipe his feet before entering;
Where the stillness was scratched only by the periodic ticking of rosaries
Drooped over the backs of pews by the few remaining bowed heads.
I was here because, though I had long lost my religion,
I still admired religious things.
I wanted to see how much this new building resembled the one of my youth.
Very little, it seems.
Whereas my childhood church was as dark as a fortress,
A good place to hide from the eyes of God,
This was a sustained flash of light.
Making it easy for the aged heads to identify me
When my cell phone went off.
Embarrassed, I fumbled for it,
As they creaked their heads towards me, frowning I didn’t belong here,
If I didn’t know how to act.
I confess I never knew how to act in places like this.
No prayer or crust of bread ever made me believe that I belonged.
I always felt as if I were caught peeking into a neighbor’s bedroom window
As he sneered and pulled the curtains.
And even though each second the phone doesn’t ring,
Reminding me that nobody in the wide world wants my attention,
Still, it has the possibility of communion,
So much so that when I answer it
I whisper, “Amen.”
After dividing the last four years between his native Pennsylvania and Florida, Ron Yazinski and his wife Jeanne have recently become permanent residents of Winter Garden.
A retired high school English teacher, Ron is inspired by the personalities and energies of his new hometown. Initially enticed by the climate of central Florida, he finds the hospitality and openness of the people who live in this marvelous little town,
refreshing and rejuvenating.
Ron’s poems have appeared in many journals, including Strong Verse, The Edison Literary Review, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Centrifugal Eye, and Pulsar. He is also the author of the chapbook HOUSES: AN AMERICAN ZODIAC, and two volumes of poetry, SOUTH OF SCRANTON and KARAMAZOV POEMS.