by Rachel J. Fenton




I went back to the church

where we married, Saint Matthew's

in the City; the one where

someone left graffiti on the billboard

over: God's a hard

act to follow; the one that made the news

(world headlines) but we

chose it for the white sun streaming in

through those high

coloured slots like filtered spotlights

at a disco, and I sat

on a pew at the back and cried and tried

to remember why we

decided not to get hitched outside.


A couple of tourists

came in, I could tell by their clean

boots and backpacks

they'd just got off the plane, I entertain

the idea they thought

I was praying which was true in a way

and they smiled

sympathetically. You must understand

it seemed real at the time,

though I know now I was dreaming

else pretending to

with you at my side and I wonder,

with so many quakes,

why they built a church with a spire;

how it stays up.

I think of its shape as an angular spiral

like the crooked one

at Chesterfield I saw in passing on a train

as architectural DNA

or a tornado pulling God out of the sky,

and all that hidden space


inside; caves like those

underwater formed by chemical

corrosion of streams

I imagine in dreams I'm swimming down,

only there's never any room

for turning at the end, but a few people

have passed through

and taken pictures, samples, there

is no art work as such,

save the structure, no rudimentary

painting, pigment smeared

by hand, and some appear in fiction

(strictly literary texts),

Ondaatje's English Patient's one example

of several lying on the bed.

I'd like to know how to turn, I have the urge

to ask you. I can't see

your face in the dark. It's featureless.


Can we talk about this?

You're not asleep are you? I'm inspired

but it's late, the curtains,

white as icing, show the first signs;

one more night over. In

another hour the sun will take a slice

but, for now, it stutters

and as I wait for it to rise I consider travel;

going back to study,

to learn speleology, but I know you're just tired.