Friday, October 17, 2014

Step inside, trembling

Step inside, trembling
not from cold although
it was cold. The church
is larger than it looks
from the outside, the altar
bathed in light at the far end
of the dark nave seems
too far to walk.

Sit, halfway down, pulling
the prayer rail down to kneel,
saw how to do it in a movie
once, Bells of St. Mary’s?
Did Sister Ingrid do that?
Kneel, clasp my hands
like I’d been taught to do,
couldn’t pray,
couldn’t hear for the silence.

Empty church, beautiful
in white and dark, stained
glass around and behind me.
Face forward as the wind
touches my face; close
my eyes against the wind,
not to see it, not ready
to see it, not yet, please,
not yet.

The silence roars, flames
throw themselves, silhouetting
shadows on the wall, flames
bright orange-red, wind stops
as quickly as it started, begin
to pray again, or try, eyes
closed, hands clasped, listen
for an answer, hear the sound
of candles burning instead
of tongues.

Do I love
do I hope, I don’t know,
I love
I hope but
I cannot do both
at the same time

Photograph by Maliz Ong via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

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