You’ll need longer lines to inscribe the hills in Indiana,
Mount St. Francis Lake greener than maples that surround it,
room for pear blossoms, cherry, paths of Solomon’s Seal
and Wood Celadine, garden club billboards, “Pardon our mess! We’re
restoring the native prairie,” predictable geese honking like mid-town.
Crazed dogs on leashes lunge and topple fishing club canoes,
bats and rodents claw air vents, paintings stay hidden in the attic
to keep bedrooms free for prayer.
Barbara Kingsolver’s the only woman besides Mary
framed on the bedroom wall, allowed because her title
includes “Bible.” Boardrooms boast stained glass
and Jesus Christ overlooking the minutes.
Father Don’s downstairs counseling distraught wives and beer-
bellied men with bibles, the patio hosts an albino opossum
and two women writers facing away from Al-Anon,
hiding the white Chardonel in the dusty shadows,
talking of exes and ectopics,
rat snakes, escaped cons, overpriced pottery
from the studio that is the friars’ hope for
more income, goldfinches, alchemy of meadows,
prayer bells, fathers, brothers and ghosts of friars
who wear the wrong color robes,
picnic tables, grills and paths newly paved
for handicapped access to the meadows,
older, well-worn paths for ticks to hang over,
white sheets so poets can find them,
days in front of computer screens and nights
of critter-interrupted dreams,
rescued poems, lines wrangled to the ground,
human bird song, spirit sheath, red and gold tulips
stolen for a blue vase, poems here, blossoms there,
a friar in his prayer room with Portable Dante,
circling “she-wolf,” retracing the canto path,
forgetting how the story ends, rereading Paradiso.
Marilyn Kallet is author of 16 books, most recently The Love That Moves Me, poetry from Black Widow Press (2013). She directs the creative writing program at the University of Tennessee and teaches poetry workshops for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Auvillar, France. Marilyn’s previous work in Still: The Journal appears here.