Spring begins to show itself through stained glass;
The burning bush’s oranges and yellows
Behind the choir almost look inviting.
Some mother in the far back refuses
To leave, to remove her screaming baby
From the sanctuary this new morning
During the reading of Psalm 44.
The drowning liturgist reads on: All day
Long my disgrace is before me, and shame
Has covered my face. Disruption annoys
Us mostly. Resisting our shared glances,
We ignore the cries and wails and sup-sups.
We don’t hear pain. We try not to listen.
For we sink down to the dust; our bodies
Cling to the ground. We straighten our straight backs,
Lift our chins, look forward at nothing here
In particular, refuse attention.
Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself!
Do not reject us forever. Why do you
Hide your face and forget our misery
And oppression? One might hear dry coughing;
One might feel restless movement in the pew.
Sure, one will certainly see the narrowed
Eyes of a few sopranos, but listen:
We try in earnest not to hear crying.
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