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Choir

by Bruce Bond


Once a year they let her sing,
the idiot child with the voice
of a heavenly ghost on fire,
too big for the body she’s in,
too wild for the staves of this
one-room church, the common
meter of the psalm and hymn.
Not to mention the small pearl gate
of the human ear. Once a year
this bargain struck between mercy
and art, which is another kind
of mercy, which is another kind
of art, which spills its alleluia
over the lip of the double bar,
over all the others in the choir
until all music is her music
to relish and bedevil. Look
at the face she gives to others
discomfited with strange delight.
Look at how the phantom crosses
the chapel threshold of our pity
into something larger, more
rare, saying, let there be harps
to sour the wind that plays them,
let a motion sickness dizzy
the gifted, may you hear it rock
the infant to nightmare all
the colors of the sun, to pour
through the sleepy eyelids of amen
over the quiet that is not
sacred, and the quiet that is
.

 

Bruce Bond’s collections of poetry include Cinder, The Throats of Narcissus, Radiography, The Anteroom of Paradise, Independence Days, and a new volume entitled Blind Rain, forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press. His poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry, The Yale Review, The Georgia Review, The Paris Review, and many other journals. He is professor of English at the University of North Texas and poetry editor of American Literary Review. (05/2008)


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