Sanctuary in the Dome City

Sweeping nuns dust the reliquary,
careful to count threads,

checking for over-night multiplications in the veil.
I’ve been waiting for the collection to break apart,

wishing to make a trail of the pieces, as they disappear
into the stairwell. I sleep under the altar lately.

Night-scatter of change across the floor alerts me
to someone’s lurking presence. You warned me against it,

but I think heading to the forest is the right thing.
I will finally discover where the canebrake hides.

I should go back to the time when my arms were swinging
with bamboo cages, they should have been filled yesterday,

but I lost time between pews.
You know, it seems you tried to show me the lapse

that happens here, when you said to watch rose bushes
collapse outside in the shadow of the vestibule.

Clocks have not chimed all week. You have not returned for me,
but I’m learning Latin and studying apostles carved into the apse.

Did you know they let the candles go all night?
I watch them extinguish, sometimes I rush to relight them,

other times not. I am bird-load, a thorn-weight in the hour
just before the proof of us dissolves.