Congregation

 

1—

 

There is a dead bird in the parking lot of the church.

Grass scratches over curbs. The dead bird’s sepulchered

by knuckled dirt; blackened asters; the shed skin of a birch.

 

The chapel’s red bricks are sick with rain. Pigeons perch

on the parapet, clutching cracked stone. Crows are murdered.

And there is the dead bird in the parking lot of the church—

 

its satellite a business of flies. Bishops are benched beneath a torch,

a blush of boys runs across the yard; their shoes are myrtled,

knuckles covered in dirt. Some pick asters. Others climb a birch.

 

2—

 

A mallard lands in its flush; charmed finches beak their search

into the wet earth. The only one unmoored

is the dead bird in the parking lot of the church.

 

Tires begin gravelling. A clutter of spiders hides in the hearth.

Fog currents through culverts. Tall doors are shouldered

open: the vestibule tracks dirt. Rain falls faster, swelling the birch.

 

Only black umbrellas bloom. Yet even they seem to lurch

when the storm begins to turn; even they seem disturbed

by the dead bird in the parking lot of the church—

its barrow of knuckled dirt and black asters; the already thinning birch.

 

 

Derek Graf is an MFA candidate at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His poems have been featured in Sphere Literary Magazine, Poydras Review, Misfit Magazine, Green Blotter Literary Magazine, Blast Furnace Press, Thread Literary Inquiry, and are forthcoming in Prompt Literary Magazine, *82 Review, Emerge Literary Journal, and Meat for Tea: The Valley Review.

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