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Siobhan Mulligan

After a line from “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg.

We searched in the white clapboard walls of the Baptist churches

that circumscribed our childhood questions. We searched

Google for Internet mysticism, Wikipedia’d Baha’i

and the Eightfold Path. We added Rumi to our Goodreads,

Netfli’d Dalai Lama documentaries. We went with friends

to church and turned our mouths from wine and wafer,

our feet towards the door. We ached for the God

of the stars, the dynamo churning, turning us

from mere flesh and marrow, mere cartilage, turning us

greater, expansive, expanding, mechanical-electric and spinning

with the exhilaration of a cold winter night.

We sang loud in choir and felt our breath yearn

towards the singular, the becoming.

We backpacked cathedrals and stood in St. Peter’s

with the choir humming in our lungs.

We saw Michelangelo in the Pietà and the holy

in the Pietà and the human in the Pietà. We asked

and were asked, why care, if He is only human to you?

as if human compassion were somehow less remarkable

than the compassionate divine, as if a mother’s grief

were not, still, a mother’s grief. We wondered

at the stone, its marrow, its maker.

Maybe this is how it is. The stone and the unseen

chisel, carving until the angel or the man

is set free. Maybe we are waiting for the marble

to be skimmed from our skin, for the dust

to clear our lungs. We wipe dust from our ribs

and see them pews. We go out and close

our books. We feel metal tap our crowns.

We stretch our hands and sing holy

to the stars, the sinners, the black holes ravenous

in the center of our galaxy. We sing to the strings

of the atoms that vibrate in our lungs.

We sing the choirs inside of us, praising the warmth

of the stone where hands just lay.

Fall, 2017 Issue

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