noise & silence: Winter Prayers

Winter Prayers

 

  1. Prime: Walking to Work

Icicles that trapped the crow’s voice for weeks

have melted to nothing.

Two crows exchange oaks, scan the horizon.

Their eyes promise a night without stars.

  1. Sext: Cleaning the Grill

My god is a half-filled cup of cold coffee.

If I call home, will I answer the phone?

My god is a buzzing fluorescent light.

If I answer, what will I say?

My god is a rag of meat grease.

Will I tell myself anything that might help?

My god is the sound of a refrigerator, humming.

I hang up before it’s too late.

III.   Terce: Running the Cash Register

All the students are happy, talking,

heading home for Christmas.

Some won’t make it back, will find themselves

years from now on a freeway ramp

south of Chicago, watching snow fall, nothing

but snow in their pockets.

Crows will follow them wherever they go.

  1. None: Heading to the Bank

An old man steps carefully down the ice-sidewalk.

His skinny, brittle legs know

that everything in his briefcase doesn’t matter.

How do I know he won’t make it through the winter?

  1. Vespers: Walking Home

Another year ends

and what have I accomplished?

A solitary crow follows me home

with his stone-breaking call.

Old bread and bottles wash up from melting snow.

The bitter last meal of those

who believe you can always start over.

If you can, you’re an endless beginner.

If you can’t, you’re an endless fool.

  1. Nocturns: Four AM

Orange light through fog.

Streets quiet as blood

through the veins.

 

– Christien Gholson

Source: noise & silence: Winter Prayers

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