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Mass for the Imprisoned

Should this be an offering for my imprisoned
let it be
in an improper place

low
very low

without marble music
gold incense white

best at a clay pit beneath an unruly willow
when rain turns to sleet

in an abandoned mine
burned sawmill
or in a warehouse of hunger
where from shabby walls
intead of the Angels of Judgement
stare
salt
vinegar

should this be an offering
let us make peace
with brothers
under the power of misdeeds
who fight behind walls

they move slowly
as if beneath the ocean
I see
their bright shadows
idle hands
awkward elbows and knees
cheeks with nests of mold
mouths open in sleep
defenseless backs

we are here alone
—my mystagogue—
no other chasubles
I see you talk
with the chalice
tie and untie
the knot
shed and collect
the crumbs

and I
am listening
if above my head
hovers
the grey numinosum

—my God
if only a thread of purple—

and so we endure
conspirators

among the prophetic sounds
and the trivial sounds

the distinguished silence of bells
the stubborn barking of keys

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