The outstretched hands and uplifted palms
Of the alabaster married statues
Welcome the girl into the church
Beckoning her to see what they’ve got to offer her today
On this late afternoon autumn sojourn of her childhood.
She’s soothed by the pastel robin egg blues
And the vanilla peach hues
Sealing their man-made material essence;
Colors she’ll later link to Beverly Hills statuary
And their intimations of pleasure and satiation.
She marvels at their smoothness
And at their placid expressions
So unlike the sense of urgency she feels
In front of the crucified one.
Haven’t they gone through their supreme loss yet?
Hasn’t some of that clay demeanor sloughed off
From the wear and tear of their lives,
Or have the shards of clay already been ripped
Out of their hearts instead?
Gently coaxing open her spiritual naiveté
She’s switched the object of her meditation
To the sky blue vaulted ceiling
Suggesting a frosting of clouds resting on the church roof
And so she’s drawn back outside
To the gusty fall afternoon,
To spirituality she can understand
In the wind’s dramatic shaking up of sky high trees
Followed by the daring lifting up of her school uniform,
And then back at the house at her piano
In the transcendence she feels
In the childish bravado with which she’s taken on Beethoven’s sonatas.
When she comes back later
After her bouts of anguish have dimmed her father’s stature
She notices the solitary teardrop
Petrified in the middle of the woman’s cheek.
Michaeleen Kelly moderates the Writers Squared series for the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters. Kelly is a pianist, a philosophy professor at Aquinas College, and a director of the New Centre for Research and Practice. Her poetry/instrumentals albums are The Piano in the Corner of My Room and Same Old New Beginnings. Kelly won two Kent County Dyer-Ives poetry prizes. Recent work appears in Main Street Rag Anthologies and Blue Collar Review.
*Author photo was taken by MH contributor Todd Mercer.