Audio: Read by the author.
Fear not, little flock.
When he likened us to a flock
he certainly meant sheep
but this morning from the back pew
of a building, stone and chancelled, nothing like
the over lit, shag carpet church of my childhood,
here amid arch and echo I think
we are a flock of birds—
starlings gathering in their murmuration.
The pensive organ, the hushed
chatter now dips, now crests, and at the bells
we all together fold to silence,
as when the helixing black cloud drops
down to feed across a reed bed.
All at once the stillness breaks
into a great applause of wings, the mounting up
in doxology, the downsweep then
of many heads in prayer. How
strange, how ominous almost
for one on the ground to watch
this cluster heave itself
heavenward, obeying powers
invisible as magnetism,
forming and reforming in the shape
of something too large to be likened.
Jennifer Polson Peterson holds an MFA in poetry from Albertus Magnus College. Her work has appeared in Pembroke Magazine, Cumberland River Review, Rockvale Review, and Diaphanous. She is a writing instructor at the University of Southern Mississippi.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.