Shuffling through your city of perpetual night, you
have come to this Advent eucharist with the help
of a seeing-eye dog. You clutch tight

the pew back curl of wood expecting neither
miracle nor accident to set the sight on fire.
I watch you stare as from a cliff ledge, groping

for the cinnamon coat of the Labrador
curled beside your kneeler. The blue fire
of the sun lies pooled in its eyes. Awakened suddenly

to the impoliteness of my stare, I turn my gaze
to candle’s flickering, a small crucifix

hung on a nail. I, too, have been led here
to the ruby light, though not by earthly Hound.

Climbing the narrow stair I have come, again,
in the hopes of even ground. Together we wait
for a cosmic burning to haul the eyelids up. I try

to imagine what it might be like for you, the absence
of light as large and pure as God, whether the Sanctus
and Agnus Dei fall like swords from pipes invisible.

And yet, when the priest raises the chalice
to your lips, it is clear the wine is a flame
holding up the sky, sustaining our night.

Articles by William North

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