Shepherd’s Call

narrow passage that leads to the sea covered in graffiti
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Each year, The Catholic Church celebrates Christ the Good Shepherd. A common Gospel reading for that Sunday Liturgy is the Gospel of John, in which Jesus Christ calls himself “the good Shepherd.” (John 10: 14) and says that his sheep “hear my voice.” (John 10:27)

What do I hear?

The tweets, cackles, cries, and crescendos of the backyard songbirds. The distant drone of traffic on the thruway. The last drops of coffee pouring from the coffee-maker.

Mom, screaming my name in the middle of the night, as Dad shouts and curses her—years ago.

At work, a team-teacher’s insults. Another team-teacher’s shouting. A student’s snide mockery. A principal’s cold, analytical dissection of a lesson she found wanting.

Where is the voice of the Shepherd?

In the small, still voice that whispers within each tweet, scream, curse, insult, shout, mockery, and dissection. A whisper I’ll hear only when I let it all go.

breaking dawn
an empty pill container
on the table

photo by Virginie Laune

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Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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