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the stained glass
works of art
garner little sunshine
the marble inside
is dust-dulled

the faithful arrive only
for special ceremonies
in the meantime
there is no money to pay
the janitor’s insurance

fees should he topple
from the ladder twenty feet high
attempting to clean windows
I – like many

worship in distant words
a faraway ritual of my concocting
the private practice of prayer
only moves me —
its physical beauty
does not teach patience

nor how to leap
into the arms of a faith
that tomorrow will
indeed be brighter
because I fold my hands

mouthing alleluia
in time with ancient sacred hymns
that yet touch
a secret place in my soul

. . .