The stained light is too low,
and the empty pews too worn;
and it is much too cool in the shadows,
and the gray statues are too forlorn.
I clasp thin hands and shiver,
clothed in color and cool and dust,
electric with discomfiture
that I have seen too much.
It is not so much the remembering
that lights me like shaking filament,
as it is the mournful overburdening
fixed against the present moment.
Fixed like these statues’ eyes
that, for all their rote compassion,
remain as unmoving as I
in the quiet dark of my passion.
It is the fixation, the anxious stillness,
that aches – the moment made of glass.
Held and framed with some gentleness
yet in holding turns cruel at last.
It is the clutching cool of memory
that neither enfolds nor releases,
half shadow and half light and never really
either one – hurting as it pleases.
Tell me that your grace is tender,
as I kneel rigid in this delicate fission
of color and shade; that you are softer
than I am with myself in my confusion.
Be gentle if you reach for me:
I might break at the slightest touch.
I am worn to slender fragility
because I have seen too much.