We stopped by the white outbuilding on our way home from walking the dog.
Seemingly overnight, the garden had mushroomed.
We stood marveling at the rows of green plants:
Next to the line of marigolds
A jungle of bushy tomato plants rose three feet high;
Cabbage and kale, eggplant and peppers,
Bushy basil and bouquets of parsley,
Anise, cucumbers, pumpkin squash;
All laid out in parallel rows rooted in the rich brown earth.
I stooped to study the plants heavily laden with seed pods.
What an assemblage of fruit, what a harvest of meticulous care!
I stood, contemplating the collective goodness borne by this soil
Sowed and tended by the local parish priest,
Who was led away in handcuffs just two days before,
Accused of sexual improprieties with an adolescent boy.
Last year a neighbor, not given to going to mass,
Hearing him speak at the funeral of the wife of a friend,
Swore he was a holy man.
I remember passing by in the evening stillness
As he watered the flower beds outside his home.
His eyes met mine; we exchanged a cordial greeting.
Could it be, I wondered; could it be true?
Jesus said: “By their fruits you shall know them.”
Here I stand, deeply pained; confused, unknowing,
Blessed by the summer abundance strewn at my feet.
“The Parish Garden” ©2011 Brian T. Maurer