The Figures Poem By Robert Dana

The Figures Poem By Robert Dana

Sunday morning. A summery
March 26th, and I’m pastor
again of The Little Church
Of Last Year’s Fallen Leaves.
Mostly oak. Mostly white.
Some red. Some burr. Those
plastered together closest
to the dirt make up a black,
wet page. Text for a late
mass, perhaps. My raking,
a late call to prayer.
My parishioners, the usual
ones for the time of year:
the beetle, the hellgrammite,
the robin, the mole. My own
work’s a kind of sweat
meditation. Join me. It’s
the perfect weather for it,
and the clearing out will
go faster. By noon, we’ll
lie back on a hill of grass,
the beer tasting crisper,
the crackers saltier than
we might ever have imagined.
And though I cannot now
know it, tomorrow, a young
friend will die of pulmonary
honeycomb fibrosis, as if
some strain of bees, finding
him choice enough to hive in,
drowned him in their sweetness.
Later, oh much, much later,
should you choose to read
in your Book of Hours,
look no further. You know,
those figures in the old story,
aflame at the edge of the wood,
brightwinged and laughing.

Robert Dana
first published in Prairie Schooner, vol. 74, no. 4,
Winter 2000

The Figures Poem By Robert Dana

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