“Blessing of the Animals” by Faith Shearin

At my daughter’s Catholic school there is
a blessing of the animals at which
the children line up with their fat hamsters
and gauzy goldfish, their dogs so old

they can barely climb the hill. They bring
their cats with bald patches
and their lizards sleeping in cages
under a fake sun. In the line
to the priest there are snakes

with white eyes and birds without songs.
There are ant farms and worms and rats
with long, exposed tails. The children
wait hours for their animals
to be blessed: for the priest’s hand

to hover over the weight they carry.
They bring shoe boxes full of turtles,
hairy spiders, frogs with dry skin.
I like watching my daughter

among the other children: her dog
small in her arms, her gaze protective.
Children believe in the power
of animals, tucked into their feathers
and shells; they believe

in blessings: the sprinkle
of holy water, each tiny
unexplained life.

“Blessing of the Animals” by Faith Shearin from Telling the Bees. © Stephen Austin State University Press, 2015.

3 thoughts on ““Blessing of the Animals” by Faith Shearin

  1. Omg – this was a completely forgotten part of my childhood until now. One of the few joyful things I remember about Catholic school. I always brought kittens (because my old dog didn’t fit in a shoebox)
    Wow. 40+ years ago…

    Liked by 1 person

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