I believe the witnesses of these things. 


I believe the song not sung at Babylon riverside.  I 

believe in don’t cry, scream.  You and your word. 

The history of a charcoal fire, fine fish and thick 

bread.  I believe Hosanna, Alleluia, kudos, mazel 

tov, joy, transubstantiation, disputation, sorrow 

crows, notary publics.  I believe in garments whiter 

than snow. Whirlwind blooming.


I believe in Western Avenue car dealerships, Halsted 

Street gay bars, Clark Street taquerias, storefront 

Madison Street churches, vast vacant South Side lots 

of buildings disappeared, labyrinth Lower Wacker 

Drive, South Water Market, Peanuts Park, Loretto 

Hospital, the gas bursting into air out of Bubbly Creek, 

the clots of high schoolers, dopey with youth, in 

McDonald’s in mid-afternoon, the ostentatious simple 

of Daniel Burnham’s grave, the painting of Msgr. Long 

posed as St. Edward in the circle high up in St. Martin de 

Porres Church, the pew there where the two who made 

me vowed to wed, the tunnel of el tracks along Lake 

Street that my 12-year-old brother, unlost, walked home 

seven miles to avoid asking for help. Who would answer?


Listen, I believe meniscus tear.


I believe the echo of the name-caller, the stained glass

shattering, the crumbling of the eucharistic Saltine.  I 

believe the red priest sermon, the baby’s prayer for 

salvation. Peasant pugilism, I believe. Gospel cockfights.  

I believe I ask three times.  The thunder out of White 

Mountain, out of the Church of the Holy Innocent, out of 

the Leamington gangway, the signboards weeds, the 

Blacktop glass glitter in sunrise, the deaf girl who was my 

playmate once, the aroma of incense rising to the darkness 

in the ceiling of the apse.  Walls shaken, my brother’s 

forlorn bullet.  I believe lightning.


You want to know what I believe?


The yearn, turn, of the baby to light — the reach to hope.

And Then All of A Sudden