blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Here Is the Church

They had never spoken
to me before, save one, once, when a basketball jammed
its knuckle and for three days straight that finger

shouted and wept,
wept and shouted,
fat and purple, full of anger. This night

was different. I heard a tiny song from
deep inside the neat, white bones, unlike any melody I knew
and not unpleasant. The body had not sung

to me like this. The notes broke small and tidy, no thick
organ keening yellow, no mushrooms

in the soft dark of the brain. No one dies
of stiff fingers in the morning, but
the body had begun its journey, whistled

to me from a tree it had climbed.
I don' t how the night passed
with my back to it, nor how the sun came up having slipped

under the house. Trays of brown
cigarettes, unhappy
nights, the love that could not take; these would not now

come undone would they? My first step down the path
of dying, I was like a bride but backwards with
every well-wishing parishioner

forgotten until the night of singing finger bones; a chorus
softer than geese, the officiant indicating
All rise, please.  

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