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Sentient, it seemed, the snowflakes’ descent,
making a midair lake, hovering in the somewhere
between weakness and ghost, careless

as orchids after Christmas. Beyond the veil
of a twelfth-century statue, one
congregant took off his Reeboks to pray

more ardently in the aisle. The monks
were in agreement, voice-wise, with the twilight,
the work of harvesting lavender in late

summer over, the empty field lying in fog.
In Latin, white birds soared. Observe, it seemed,
was the holiest of words.

At lunch, six teaspoons of saltwater
were eaten with oysters. After that,
the small front leg of a lamb. Now the kneel

and rise to dancerly postures of candles
on the nave, where one moth chases another.
A widower sits glossily, immobile as a door

painted to its frame, the brush like a lullaby,
locking it in sleep. A snail watches from under its
hood, as frailty evident, acknowledged.

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

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