I returned to the church house when I couldn’t grieve,and between the rows of empty pews I founda hollowness that I could never leave.
The place was dim, but I could still perceivethe spots worn in the pews—lighter, round.I returned to the church house when I couldn’t grieve
and found the air so still one might believeno soul had ever been there—not a sound—a hollowness that I could never leave,
though desperately I wanted to. Receivesalvation mocked the books stacked all around.I returned to the church house when I couldn’t grieve
but found I couldn’t grieve there either. Relievemy suffering begged Jesus, thorny-crowned.The hollowness that I could never leave
ballooned so large I hardly could conceiveof it—pressing on me, pound by pound.I returned to the church house when I couldn’t grievethis hollowness that I can never leave. [End Page 36]
Nick McRae is the author of The Name Museum (C&R Press, 2014), which won the 2012 De Novo Prize, as well as the chapbook Mountain Redemption (Black Lawrence Press, 2013). He is the editor of the anthology Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets (Sundress Publications, 2013). His poems appear in Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Southern Review, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He serves as associate editor for 32 Poems and poetry coordinator for the annual Best of the Net anthology. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and raised in the Northwest Georgia foothills, Nick earned an M.F.A. in creative writing at The Ohio State University and is a Robert B. Toulouse Doctoral Fellow in English at the University of North Texas.