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ALTITUDE / Kathy Fagan When smoke rose from the swung censer it rose on a choral breath It rose slowly and in waves Uke the congregants and rode From vault to vault the nave's ceiling where we beUeved It found escape We beUeved in transcendence then As we beUeve in movies each Christmas and from the very first reel That even the smallest prayer may pass through nebular dust to heaven Where the ratio of angel to tiving man is one to one BeUeved as we beUeve tin dreams pinned to spots of Ught above us And in actions finding answer in an out of reach elsewhere BeUeved with the betief that drops the "t" from consteUation when looking toward The stars Desire is its own pUot at this or any season traversing the city And clouds Ut by the city the Ulumined cloudcover Uke a landscape Transposed a language made legible on buoyant tongues It is not a trick Of fuel tailings or engine's din but a visible sheen an audible innocence In which the Ughts of approach and departure seem one And as a season's Rain ticks at our tablet windows a mechanization of gears in the beUy Goes round Uke applause among passengers at touchdown The Missouri Review · 222 EASTER SUNDAY / Kathy Fagan Church beUs, rain, deer peUets in the pine beds, and lichens ecstatic for a northern god. AU morning I have waited for a sign greater than these: companion blood, an animate spirit. The body of a nuthatch found on my doorstep only strengthened that need. How tight it was! A no-weight in my hand, as hers had been. Then too I waited. BeUeved I would have gone where she was going for a sign. There are at least two sides of grief: on one, you're watchful; the other makes you turn away. And maybe we don't get to choose. Like at the aU-you-caneat salad bar, the ones whose mothers didn't, my friend said, love them enough, first plates pUed too high, I looked everywhere: shadow at my left shoulder, shadow on my right. Then mourning doves on the car-hood. Enclosed parking garage. I convinced myself with that. But what of? 122 · The Missouri Review Winter fog in the vaUey, summer fog on its grape; and the lightning of spring lanced in faU's halved tomato. I once dreamed a city divided by water. No bridge, no boat, no way across that I could find. And the dreamseti asked, How wiU the chUdren go to school? And her voice answered, surprising me, answered, Zero Street, then said no more. Zero, as in nothing, as in bottom, as in no-place-you-know open closed whole gone. As in open. As in whole. Leaves young beeches hold all winter strike low flames through the woods Uke chandetiers Ut and waiting to be raised. It is April, and snow unthawed in the darker reaches heaves as though someone breathed beneath it. Three days ago, sun, and the tap, tap of creepers round the base of a pine tree. That morning, they made aU the circles they wanted. Kathy Fagan The Missouri Review · 223 VIGIL / Kathy Fagan He was saying how any note struck on the piano that day even in error was enunciated Uke a syUable from the perfect throat how a moth applauds smaUest it prays otherwise and the saw-whet calls for who knows how many nights before then feeling no need it does not caU Uke a wick that waits for its flame to come (don't make me lonely) Uke a mirror waiting for its face But I was sUt on the lakebed that night and she the boat spun on its surface and though it was already much too dark I'll wait for you here was what she said Here and elsewhere Her and not Like a singular crow and the pine limb it sits on swaying perhaps Or perhaps it was a tree entire conversed with the wind that moved it And then someone mentioned new theory on purpose It was the theory of original sin and had been for some...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 111-116
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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