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We stack the dead
names of the faithful
high in the incensed air,
light prayers beneath them
till the altar burns with words.
The nave knows their smoke,
remembers our memories of them.
The chancel recants our absence
from their lives until we live
again in the space at the rail
beside them, these saints
unSainted, the faint flames
of our unmartyred selves
riding their iridescent fires.

Marjorie Maddox

Image by Dennis Benkert licensed via Creative Commons. Image cropped.