Laura Foley: “An Ordinary Sunday”


On Sunday, I sing in a church choir, not believing
in God, but holding a space for something—

some might call it spirit, an opening,
a candle illuminating a cave.

On Sunday, I climb the hill behind our house,
as the long winter thaws, and my dogs dig in wet loam.

I wait for worries to relax their hold, for my mind
to become one with the clouds’ calm drifting,

the trilling of a stream rushing somewhere unseen.
We need, I think, to let ourselves soften around hurt,

before we sink, like spring snow, into fields—
so, on the top of the hill, I let Dad in, decades past his death,

and find a few good memories, like stones just soft enough
for polishing—him filling the green glass vaporizer nightly,

so I wouldn’t get sick, in the hot, dry air of my childhood winters;
Dad donning an apron to cook for his skinny teen.

I breathe in the care and nourishment he offered then
and I receive today, on top of a hill, an ordinary Sunday.

Laura Foley is the author of seven poetry collections, her most recent being Why I Never Finished My Dissertation (Headmistress Press). Her poem “Gratitude List” won the Common Good Books poetry contest and was read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac. Her poem “Nine Ways of Looking at Light” won the Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. Foley is a hospital Creative Arts Specialist.

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