Previously published in "New People"
It's Sister Barbara’s birthday, her 50th,
potluck in the cafeteria at St. Benedict Academy.
Fellow workers at the hospital,
Sisters of St. Joseph,
Thomas Merton Center members,
and family by birth - siblings, cousins,
nieces and nephews, and an aunt.
There are many different salads. (It’s Lent.)
There’s Lambrusco and Iron City Beer.
At one table, talk about support
for the local Muslim community,
Targeted by talk show hosts and the INS
in the wake of 9/11.
At another table, talk about grandchildren
and who was in the orchestra at their school.
At a third table, talk about a new job,
and someone who just lost hers.
At still another, talk about who was arrested
in the latest protest at the School of the Americas.
Sister Barbara is dressed in purple,
with a purple scarf
and a purple hibiscus in her hair.
There’s a deejay.
Later there will be dancing
and we’ll do the funky chicken.
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