Dearest Mike, aka Brother De Sales (1941-2015):
   When you became a tailor for the priests 
those lordly men called you “the seamstress”
for it was their flowing robes and silky vestments
you stitched and repaired.  After Father Gregor’s
mother bequeathed the old Singer to the order
the other brothers could not decipher its mysteries,
but you of uncanny mechanical ability made it hum.
I’d go to that room behind the seminary dorm,
a silent spacious place you’d found to sew,
and watch you thread the bobbin and tease
the holy cloth beneath the singing needle.
    I remember that each time a snag arose
or the spool was empty, you’d stay your hand
like the pope and say I’d rather smoke a camel
than light a candle or blessed is as blessed does
or when everybody kneels you be sure to stand.

Brother, collect your awards for all your ills
oh you father of the music-man and the poet
you bi-polar bear, you lover of those in jail
you maker of fusing storm and sudden calm
you dry drunk, you holy man

Be happy on your birthday,
we all have you within us
                                         Your remaining brother, Jim