Issue 227, Winter 2018
You stow them to the rear of worship: bits of jagged iron,
candle nubs, miscellaneous gears and levers, each perfect
unto itself but useless apart from its fellows. The human
back is meant to bear this weight: cable spools, dusty
vases. Here is a picture of Christ, and here is a picture of
Christ. Imagine the eyes first, oblique timepieces upon
which vision prints. I cough up a tooth, mature and perfect.
It glistens in my hand. The chancel remains locked,
nursing its treasures with a dim milk. I can just feel the
tooth resting in the center of my palm; I shift it slightly,
its planes mazing the half-light. Is it broken, I ask myself.
Is it worship. Every century or four someone scrubs the
images from the walls and replaces them with new images.
A fish. A crown. A scythe. See, this special niche for
books from which pages have been torn. You may open
and close them: an almanac, a lab manual, a toddler’s
pop-up fable. In my hand I am still holding this single
tooth, which my body offered up. It is not, to my knowledge,
mine. I imagine the dark chancel full of teeth, a mouth
sewn shut. go find out the arrow instructs
the legend in the glass, that falls on me. Nowhere is there
speech or talk of mending. A child’s collage, a cracked
slate. I can’t decide where to leave the tooth: in the Lady