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Retrofitting Grace Cathedral, San Francisco

Let my worship be this
work and the force of each
bit-strike on masonry.

Forswear my doubtful tongue.
Let my past words be what
they are: failed elegies

to the living word. Let
praise be pain rejoicing.
What rose like dust now falls

and it is beautiful
and meaningless and out
of time. Say you won’t let

me go. In the darkness
I close my eyes. Nothing
vanishes: clumsy life,

crowded street, the perfect
I thought could not take me
back for want of it. Truth:

all remaining choices
are as enormous as
what feels hardly enough

to make me whole. When light
breaks through darkened stained glass,
no pane can know itself

without the other panes.
What I’ve bargained away
I can’t explain in words.

When a stone is hammered,
the form of what’s broken
becomes another form.

The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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