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Tag: Dan Albergotti

The Chiming of the Hour

The low tone of heavy December wind

moving through the attic’s slatted vents

awakens the woman lying on her side.

She sees how the muted morning light

drifts through window blinds and how her husband,

who was alive in her dream, is again in the earth.

This is the gray day that the Lord hath made.

She hears the soft, rapid ticking of the clock

beside her bed and how it mingles with

the bells outside. The woman does not know

why the wind chimes sound altogether different

in winter months. She does not know

what puts her in her navy dress and heels,

behind the wheel of her husband’s old sedan,

and into the pew they sat in all those years.

But she stands with the parishioners and mouths

the words of the doxology, her whisper lost

in the throng. She sits back down with them.

Back home, she will read the bulletin

and listen to the cable news anchorman

as if he were a bothersome neighbor child.

She does not know why she will not clean

the tables and mantelpiece of the gathering dust

nor why she has to check each windup clock

before she puts herself back into the dark.

Sometimes she wakes up singing.

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.

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.

Things to Do In the Belly of the Whale

Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.

Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires

with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.

Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.

Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way

for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review

each of your life’s ten million choices. Endure moments

of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.

Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound

of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.

Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,

where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all

the things you did and could have done. Remember

treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes

pointing again and again down, down to the black depths.

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.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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