I wouldn’t mind your testing me
If I so often didn’t fail.
The consolation: there’ve been worse
Whom nonetheless you didn’t curse
To lives of sheer aridity
For stumbles quite beyond the pale.
By way of weak defense I must
Invoke those forty desert years
In which the people whom you loved
And kindly guided hand in glove
Consistently betrayed your trust
Instead to worship idol fears.
My love for you’s no less untoward
At times, yet my idolatry
And other desert-driven acts
Can’t loose me from our solemn pact:
I’ll always wait for you, O Lord,
If you will always wait for me.
Jeffrey Essmann is an essayist and poet living in New York. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review, Ekstasis Magazine, Amethyst Review, The Society of Classical Poets, Modern Reformation, and various venues of the Benedictine monastery with which he is an oblate. He was the 2nd Place winner in the Catholic Literary Arts 2022 Assumption of Mary poetry contest and 1st Place winner in its Advent: Mary Mother of Hope contest later that year. He is editor of the Catholic Poetry Room page on the Integrated Catholic Life website.