Shards Hung Like Dagger-Teeth

In the broken chapel
where the altar was marred
but not destroyed

I remained on my knees
my head just below
a thick swarm of gnats.

I came here to tear the building down
for boards to use to create art
like I do with faded and dilapidated red barns.

A new future was planned
for this site.
So a poster on a telephone pole stated.

I thought of all the prayers
fumbled and soaked into
these floorboards

and how those stories
would guide my carving tools
or arrange the paint colors.

I am not sure what I would do
if those dropped prayers
were in a foreign language.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

Not the Season of Flowers

On this one sabbath
Paul and Lori wore white cotton shirts.

Their hands struck red match tips to striker strips
and lit twenty-seven votive candles.

They placed names on the spiraling smoke
as if the smoke carried away a tragic weight.

They did so for all the people they knew
whose ignorance betrayed them to misfortune.

They did not add uttered prayers
with their common imperfect vocabulary.

Or juggle their different interpretations of God
and what lies beyond life.

They provided the connection they desired
by holding each other’s hand.

This sharing of an unpracticed ritual
opened the path for pent-up tears.

On this one sabbath
Paul and Lori wore white cotton shirts.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney