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Michael Sitaras. Sacred Air, 2004–present. Clockwise from upper left: bottled air collected from Mount Athos, Greece; Assisi, Italy; Notre Dame du Liban, Harissa, Lebanon; the Protestant Church of Aruba, Oranjestad, Aruba. From an ongoing collection of over forty specimens.

Michael Sitaras. Sacred Air, 2004–present. Clockwise from upper left: bottled air collected from Mount Athos, Greece; Assisi, Italy; Notre Dame du Liban, Harissa, Lebanon; the Protestant Church of Aruba, Oranjestad, Aruba. From an ongoing collection of over forty specimens.

Speak to me
about the presence of absence.

Not everything created
can be seen.

As the uncreated
may be glimpsed from a slant.

What we bring is attention—
prayer in our hands, spirit in our lungs.

Emptiness—but a focus on what
borders and frames the space—

what the space is filled by.
Nothing empty

of the presence of the Lord.
Give pause between words.

A container saying,
Don’t look at me, but look

at the space of me. Look through me
to what I contain. A bottle filled

with the air of a holy place,
a desert, a mountain, a space

of the Lord to apprehend and inhabit.
Breathe the sacred air.


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

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