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Vestibule

I sometimes wish I could find Cindy

to thank her for agreeing with my fine idea

that we sneak into the university chapel

late one night in 1983 to make love.

I don’t just want to thank her for giving me

the trump card—“house of worship”—

I hold in every stupid party game that begins,

“Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever…?”

No, I want to thank her for the truth of it.

For knowing that the heart is holy even when

our own hearts were so frail and callow.

Truth: it was 1983; we were nineteen years old;

we lay below the altar and preached a quiet sermon

not just on the divinity of skin, but on the grace

of the heart beneath. It was the only homily

we knew, and our souls were beatified.

And if you say sentiment and cliché, then that

is what you say. What I know is what is sacred.

Lord of this other world, let me recall that night.

Let me again hear how our whispered exclamations

near the end seemed like rising hymnal rhythm,

and let me feel how those forgotten words came

from somewhere else and meant something.

Something, if only to the single moth

that, in the darkened air of that chapel,

fluttered its dusty wings around our heads.

from The BoatloadsFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2008
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Deborah Brown Poems

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