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Under their trapdoor brass lid buried flush
In marble lay the notes: a shallow tomb
Of keys that Lazarus-like would ring the chimes
At consecration. Just the lightest brush
Of fingertips, the slightest hint of rush,
And error filled the narrow little room
It was allowed. Five years before the times

When celebrants who’d always turned their backs
On those who served and poured and knelt and bowed
Would face lay faces and the music of
Guitars, I lit six wicks and watched white wax
Melt down. Hushed to a sort of humming pax,
My peers on kneelers proved they weren’t too proud
To flood the pews with something close to love—

And sparge the solemn nave with grade-school titters
When schadenfreude saw its perfect chance:
Lace sleeves grew from his chasuble; the host
Rose pale amidst the tabernacle’s glitters,
White ghost on gold. And I, possessed by jitters,
Entered the blessèd state of panicked trance.
One note clanked like a pot lid through my most

Egregious, grievous fault of fingering.
It made the marble everywhere say no,
From altar stone and column clear to vault.
It told the faithful body dong dong ding;
Announcing they could laugh at Christ the King.
And ite said, I must have felt as though
To look back would have turned my soul to salt.