Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 4 • Winter 2002 • Featured Writer • Poetry

this is as close as we get

T. Cole Rachel

the second floor is full of them, miniature rooms full of god
where the crazy come to pray -- perpetually deserted, unused
spaces governed by stillness

a muslim prayer room, windows turned indifferently
to allah and a door that won't pull shut, then
the tiny synagogue, expectant with dark wood
and heavy furniture, and then the protestant church
mirrored from midwestern texts, littered
with sloppily copied hymn sheets and redemptive
leaflets but oh, with jesus, you are somebody !
this room, with it's neatly squared pews and modest pulpit
is haunted, filled with the illumination
cast by only a quiet nothingness

and this paleness pools around the tiny stations of the cross
in the catholic chapel, the last and most hopelessly ornate
of the holy rooms, the doll house stained glass and diminutive altar
silencing the sounds of hospital below, the chatter of doors
the murmur of form-filling

here the votives have no flames, only tiny flickering filaments--
minute red bulbettes--each with it's own silver switch, they glow
without heat in the middle of the day, they wait
for the person who will come and turn off their prayers, dislocated hopes
of the lost, unstable, institutionalized
and those who come to think of them, closed and drifting
in nearby rooms, moved by unknowable spirits
pulled by powers as potent and visceral
as the sound of blood, voices
drawing them into the presence of distilled white light, places
where even the love of gods can never find us.

T. Cole Rachel

A native Oklahoman and former resident of Kansas, T. Cole Rachel now makes his home in New York City. His work has appeared in The Ontario Review, Visionaire, Westview and Illuminations. His first collection of poems, Surviving the Moment of Impact, was published in 2002 by Soft Skull Press.

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