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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

—Elizabeth Duran