[cathedrals in their middle age]

cathedrals in their middle age
          sourly contemplate

the platitudes of worship
          (what longing made

the history of their long struggle
          and what prayers like smoke

stain the minds and hands
          of old men

): their structure is a torsion—
          pleasure and silence

twisted
          at invisible altitudes—

below, the dark
          icon of betrayal

above, a whispered light
          revealing nothing.

without ceremony
          no voice to read

a lesson
          or to preach

and no believers (especially
          if there are no believers)

at the end of worship
          silence is their business.

if I was such a man
          —my eyes removed

for safe-keeping
          through the wars

my memory buried
          in a field—

how could I then say
          what my body meant to say?
Originally published in Out of the Box: Contemporary Gay and Lesbian Poets, edited by Michael Farrell and Jill Jones, Puncher & Wattmann Poetry, 2009