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As you lie there
(bedridden, they say),
Dull eyes fixing on objects
     deemed less than worthy of ordinary attention⁠—
          uneven surfaces,
          hairline cracks in a painted wall,
          sunlight moving hour by hour
               across mementos of distant adventures⁠—
Do you still travel the roads and seaways with
      the belated apostle from Tarsus as he journeys across
          the Empire?
Can you yet stand in the shadows with the young Athanasius,
     hearing the Nicene elders pronounce on
          the consubstantial Word?
Are thoughts of day-long colloquies at Cassiciacum
     still blowing through your fevered mind like
          an evening breeze?
Will your little room with the clean sheets and
     the antiseptic smells expand to hold
          a Dumb Ox pondering syllogisms spacious enough
               to contain a universe,
          an Augustinian monk daring to stand (contra
               mundum⁠—Do you remember Athanasius?) before
                    the doctors gathered at Leipzig and Worms,
          a gaunt young lawyer poring over sacred texts in
               his Genevan study?
Do angels and archangels,
     prophets, apostles, and martyrs,
          all assembled as a great cloud of witnesses,
Greet you as you make your way beyond encroaching darkness
     toward the Unapproachable Light?

—Charles C. Twombly