Via Crucis / by Joseph Castorino

Pummeled by Parkinson’s,

he battles through the basilica,

leaning forward, heavily,

hunched over, crushed

under an invisible

wooden cross, laden

with the world’s woes;

from the ocean of onlookers,

like Veronica with her veil,

a mother mildly lifts up

her little newborn;

the Holy Father’s

old, wrinkled face

winces with pain,

like a warrior’s,

as he most tenderly

blesses the babe

with a gentle kiss;

the spectators exhale

a halo as they breathlessly

and solemnly sigh, “O!”