Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

The Tree — Andrew Spencer


Holding the weight
of this silent cathedral on my conscience,
I peer into the basin
of holy water.

Wavering at the door,
thoughts of purity
and impurity.

Afraid to sully the waters, afraid
to go on without
their sheen on my fingertips and forehead,
the sign of the cross, cross
my fingers
and enter.


If you should grow weary
of these lofty ceilings receding
into darkness,
golden pulpits empty and silent
then slip
between the massive oak doors
and find–

in a field nearby
the kind of tree that doesn’t mind
dropping its blossoms
in a pool at your feet.

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