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Vestibule

I sometimes wish I could find Cindy 
to thank her for agreeing with my fine idea 
that we sneak into the university chapel 
late one night in 1983 to make love. 
I don’t just want to thank her for giving me 
the trump card — “house of worship”—
I hold in every stupid party game that begins,
“Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever … ?”
No, I want to thank her for the truth of it. 
For knowing that the heart is holy even when 
our own hearts were so frail and callow.
Truth: it was 1983; we were nineteen years old;
we lay below the altar and preached a quiet sermon 
not just on the divinity of skin, but on the grace 
of the heart beneath. It was the only homily 
we knew, and our souls were beatified. 
And if you say sentiment and cliché, then that
is what you say. What I know is what is sacred.
Lord of this other world, let me recall that night.
Let me again hear how our whispered exclamations 
near the end seemed like rising hymnal rhythm,
and let me feel how those forgotten words came 
from somewhere else and meant something. 
Something, if only to the single moth 
that, in the darkened air of that chapel, 
fluttered its dusty wings around our heads.

How a Poem Happens: Dan Albergotti

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