In December we shut the doors
quickly behind us one by one and gather
around words of life spoken against
the cold and dark outside
the frosted windows, against the cold
and dark within, while candles burn
steady as a constellation. But now,

The doors and windows are thrown
open to blinding June sunlight; a motorcycle slowly
rips the street from end to end, cuts through
the dull hum of the electric window fans
as we mumble the liturgy. Once a sparrow
flew in through the door and drew slow, fluttering
circles over our heads as we worshipped. We just
kept at it; what else could we do?

And this breeze that breaches the windows
is no friend to fire, flutters the flames right, then left,
carving crazy wax sculptures as we stare.
It’s the world got in, tossing banners and draperies,
an unseen hoard of bearded invaders
fingering our stuff, not finding much to value,

While those in the back pews with picnic plans
plot their escape should it all drag on too long.
And if the sermon just stopped
—“Okay now, enough of that today”—
who could be shocked, while this warm wind
blows the lazy summer through our Sabbath?

And hasn’t this same breeze blown
through my own days, made me a little sorry
for my sins, want to love my family, learn
to barbeque, sit on the back porch and plan a holiday
while bees wander through the lillies? Is this
the apostles’ mighty wind, blown steady and mild
over the millennia, like a remnant of a Florida hurricane
now watering grassy lawns across Ohio?

Or do I live for the moment (as I hope) at the gentle
edges of a storm that somewhere even this moment is still
raging, purging, renewing
the face of the earth?

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