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A PARISH IN THE BRONX / Donald Revell The moving filaments of traffic shadow the people and jagged, stationary cars in a church parking lot below the highway. Anyone leaving the late mass has a choice, a lucky one. He can look up as far as the highway and believe in so many lights moving fast. Or he can look up farther to the spire razored in floodlights, taller than the traffic or the near buildings, and picture himself that high, that visible. Some choices are too easy to make only because nothing hangs in the balance. Coming out of the darkness of a church into a dark neighborhood smeared beneath pylons, nobody has anything to lose between the heavens of the fast cars and of the spire razored where everyone can see. I felt so lucky when I stood there. I felt like the last organ note of a hymn huge inside of the nothing that comes afterwards. There is no room between eternity and the loneliness inside of a car and the loneliness of the floodlights cutting a tall scaffold into the night sky. I came out of mass and made a choice lucky to believe the choice mattered. The fast cars sped out of the city to dances and marriages. The sharp spire laddered upwards into the easy fame of the last note of a hymn held forever. I am no dancer. And marriage never gets to the end of anything. I chose the perspectiveless, tall nonsense of God's noise aloft over the jagged parish, thinking everything else was a dream 62 · The Missouri Review too lonely for words. It was, but just as lonely is praying that all wives return, all dogs live. Eternity takes up all the room in the world. You can't drive fast enough. You can't picture yourself so high that the dead see you and come home. Donald Revell THE MISSOURI REVIEW · 63 ...


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