My Gospel Is Poem
I take my orders from the whiff
of the biscuit factory, the oily smell
of the bicycle repair shop.
I have caught myself in prayer,
nose lowered, longing
for the opposite side of the river,
for those white woods I’ve heard about
where one lets go at last the body’s grip
and lifts, pale with knowledge, to hover
wingless in the windless air.
But I recover. A neighbor’s cutting
lumber, loosing the pine plank’s scent,
or a breeze is steeped in the stink
of marsh muck. My gospel is
the rolled-up rug discarded in a yard,
and rained on, the fusty garden shed,
and the raised glass that stalls halfway
to the lips, the sweet milk gone bad.
first published in New England Review, vol. 21, no. 4, Fall 2000
also from The Actual Stars