[32] No Dante but Maybe Guided, Matthew Bruce Harrison


All my holes raw before the cathedral
vault of the Gothic food court, I cut

a sickle path through the dead
lawn and slid behind a purple mass

of puffers and pom-pommed beanies
bowed in the shared breath of winter

prayer beside Summit Avenue, under
a fossilized white walnut. South, traffic

lights greened and bloodied banks
of snow where I turned perpendicular

to the congregation, free not to glance
back but did and witnessed the downcast

glittered heads no longer holy
supplicants but lapping at the glows

of palmed phones. Bluish static flurried
the scene. Was a funny disappointment

for unanointed me when the shuttle came
trumpeting bad brakes in royal advent

for the waiting. Everybody looked up,
but I legged the freeze to Sri Chinmoy

Peace Bridge, arched the clouded Mississippi
that copied the slow clouds. My idiot faith

romanced a leap, but my body, middling
on a road inclined to weather us across

despite the weight of our exhaust held me
level, though I slipped into commonplace

reverie for the middle ages, my cinematic
Book of Hours. Elevated, framed by sky-

scrapers and abandoned barbicans, my movie
illuminated those students bound in sacred-heart

dyed merchandise who waited still,
transmogrified into the hum and steam

of a violet idea beneath the nimbus-bright
bulbs of the number sixty until each drop,

when each body descended, trustful, a live-streamed
angel tracing the brief boot prints

of strangers in the miniature buoyant gleams
of miracle texts on touched screens, diminishing

into the cassock of Saint Paul. I crossed over
heel-to-toe just as the locals taught so not

to fall. I blew into my cupped palms, flattened
them, rubbed warm my Gospel name, Matthew,

unfolded my hands and thought, Matthew, when
your destination finds you, thank the time-grimed

windows there, the worn door, the labored
calm, the scarred floor, the leftovers, the soured

sheets, the hopeless hours, the hopeful, the close
enduring skin, the wait, the descent, the stop.

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