V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





There were no saints,
no hard icons or
consecrated tokens to hold,
to rub between a thumb
and fingers. Just the altar

with its wood cut-out
of the Alpha, the Omega.
And the collection plate,
also wood, the lip of it
worn to a slick groove,
a circle of velvet pressed
to the bottom.

I can't remember bells,
no silk cord to tug. Instead,
adjacent to the door, a marquee,
its frame painted white, a glass
panel proctecting the black letters
that listed the hours of services.

In the yard, no cemetery, no
graves. No place to leave
our dead. But open grass,
a picnic table where children
drank lemonade during summer
Bible School. And always
those two or three quarters
mothers had tucked inside
of pockets. The standard order:
Don't lose these. I kept
touching them, not convinced.
Once inside we gave them up,
dropping the sweaty metal
into the plate, the sharp clink
a dull echo against rafters.

© by Sara Lamers


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