Winter 2008
Volume 8, Number 1

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Before the Service
He meanders in grace,
eyes wrinkling into his cheeks,
lips mingling with the divine,
arms reaching heaven.
He hushes sin in a breath,
his hands stained with prayer.
I sit in the back
listening to him prepare.
Silence entwined with names,
Michael . . . Darla . . . Julie.
I wait for mine
feeling it slide through his mouth,
mysteriously rising
like incense toward God

—Cheryl Denise, Philippi, West Virginia, is author of I Saw God Dancing (DreamSeeker Books, 2005) the collection of poetry from which this poem comes from. “They’ll,” another poem in the collection, was read by Garrison Keiller on “Writer’s Almanac,” October 9, 2007.


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