for Christopher T George, after “All That Glitters”
All night, the surface of the earth’s been
hidden beneath snow-floured cloth of linen —
now the sun peeks above the bread-pan rim
of the horizon, ready to slide into the oven
on a cold December day. I want to warn it:
the oven isn’t ready, everything is gray,
better to wait, you’ll never bake —
but a hope for sunlight doesn’t take advice,
there’s no reason to waste breath on warnings,
better to listen for the bell for Matins —
it will ring faint and late today, its call
to chorus and communion muffled by the snow.
I’d like my feet to answer that cold iron cry,
bundle in a parka that saw its first winter
in Europe, 1942. I’d like to join the faithful
ones who gather there in sanctuary, sit in
back, listen to their voices warming, hear
the scratchy grackles becoming golden larks.
I wish there was a seat above the chancel
where I could stow away, let the reverberations
of the organ fashioned in some other century
tumble through me, heat my cells. I’d like
to peek, hidden and unseen, between the rails,
watch the faithful queue up for communion,
kneel for the sacrament, see the emissary
place small disks of unbaked sun between
their lips, hear the whispered blessings.
Cold stained glass held by lead threads will
light then, the sun will find its own way in,
touch upturned faces with its grace-hued hands.
My friend, my friend, it’s winter, it’s the time
of all things ending, the time it’s always darkest —
and the time we most remember all those who’ve
gone before. Tonight when you sing “Auld Lang
Syne,” remember this acquaintance. I will not
wait till Evensong. I’ll pray for you at Matins.
Laura M Kaminski grew up in Nigeria, went to school in New Orleans, and currently lives with her husband in rural Missouri. She is an associate editor at Right Hand Pointing; more about her poetry can be found at The Ark of Identity