The Prodigal


The nobility was sucked

out of him by the mosquitoes

that swarmed the pigsty

where he slept


his edge refined was blunted

by constant chopping

at the bones of waste

he once threw beneath the table


his goodness, first stained scarlet

by the dawn of pleasure

he awoke to, faded quickly

in the inclemency

his endless afternoons traversed


all this to say that he utterly lacked

every decent motive to go back;

indeed, his return was blocked

by mountainous shame,

craterous indignity,

and raw disuse

of limbs now lean through

equal parts atrophy and apathy


but one foul day none of this mattered,

none of it convinced;

and the prodigal,

naked in need

bereft of elevation,

began a homeward crawl

in the clear direction

of an unforeseeable embrace.

Greg Kennedy, SJ is assigned to the spiritual exercises ministry at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario.

  • Robert Czerny
    Posted at 10:25h, 10 July Reply

    Very powerful

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 20:19h, 10 July Reply

    Thank you Greg!

  • Karen Arthurs
    Posted at 14:55h, 13 July Reply

    A great recreation of the prodigal child, of a life lived.

  • Paul Panaretos
    Posted at 06:37h, 18 July Reply

    gripping! ‘blocked returns’ so cannily cloak themselves.

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