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Jesus is coming repent Ye!

reads the scrawled sign

of this man who is not John the Baptist

but who is in his own way

the handwriting on the wall

of this grim time.

Repent of what?

the tired commuters ask,

their virtue in their briefcases

as they head towards Grand Central

and the long ride

to what is no longer home

but still has no other name.

Repent, they ask, of what wildness,

what archaic evil;

and the man himself who holds the sign

does not know and could not say.

But over the gates of the terminal

lush nymphs sway

locked around the clock

restraining it from dominating

the universe;

and they know what Jesus knew

that what is to be repented

is what is lost:

the child unconceived,

the moment

when the hands that might have touched

pulled back,

the bread

that was swallowed in haste and alone,

and the wine

untasted on the table of the life