St. Anne's Belfield
When you wake, boundaries disappear. Snow caps
Like soft wisps of silver hair tinge the trees’
Knobbled fingers the color of vast above:
The barbed barrier between earth and sky dissolves.
No more must you slouch on the sidewalk’s rusty pew.
No more must you listen to the metallic choir’s honking.
No more must you cough on an exhaust pipe’s incense,
Staring as salvation is reduced to a procession
Of glaring headlights. The street is empty.
Reclaim the frozen morning.
Let the snowflakes drifting into your hair baptise you.
Seize the clouds for rosary beads and pray
That you might dance in this snow globe cathedral.
Peace be with the invisible, the inaudible—
This imprecise perfection. Eucharist is nothing
If not crystallized symmetry landing
On your outstretched tongue. In the name of the
Winter, the silence, this windblown creed: amen.
Blades of grass skewering the snow,
Earthy colors bleeding through sledding tracks—
Was it all a facade, this temple inside out,
This blizzard hush turned melting sabbath?
Tomorrow you’ll forget what’s beyond
The buzzing sludge that clogs your ears.
And later, when your shuffling boots again stick
To the sidewalk, and Wednesday sun shoves
The sky out of the way, and the last wistful flurries
Float onto your forehead like alabaster ashes,
You’ll brush them off impatiently, for the barbed wire—
Border between brittle branch ends and infinite blue—
Will have finally resolidified.
This piece was previously published in Crossroads.
The imagery connecting religion and the wintry sky and streets is simply stunning. Each stanza concludes with a quiet, pensive, and stirring tone. The religious symbolism really brought something out of me. Not sudden worship, but something spiritual.
Hewson Duffy is a writer in the class of 2020 at St. Anne's Belfield school in Charlottesville, Virginia. Every morning he dutifully drinks a glass of chocolate milk, and besides writing he occasionally dares to eat a peach.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR