Tom Sleigh

(Texas / United States)

The Parallel Cathedral


The cathedral being built
around our split level house was so airy, it stretched
so high it was like a cloud of granite
and marble light the house rose up inside.

At the time I didn't notice masons laying courses
of stone ascending, flying buttresses
pushing back forces that would have crushed our flimsy wooden beams.
But the hammering and singing of the guilds went on

outside my hearing, the lancets' stained glass
telling how a tree rose up from Jesse's loins whose
flower was Jesus staring longhaired from our bathroom wall where I

always wanted to ask if this was how he
really looked, slender, neurasthenic, itching for privacy
as the work went on century after century.

2
Fog in cherry trees, deer strapped
to bumpers, fresh snow marked
by dog piss shining frozen in the day made
a parallel cathedral unseen but intuited

by eyes that took it in and went on to the next
thing and the next as if unbuilding
a cathedral was the work
that really mattered—not knocking

it down which was easy—
but taking it apart stone
by stone until all

that's left is the cathedral's
outline coming in and out of limbo
in the winter sun.

3
All through childhood on eternal sick day afternoons,
I lived true to my name, piling dominoes
into towers, fingering the white dots like the carpenter Thomas
putting fingertips into the nail-holes of his master's hands.

A builder and a doubter. Patron saint of all believers
in what's really there every time you look:
black-scabbed cherry trees unleafed in winter,
the irrigation ditch that overflows at the back

of the house, chainlink of the schoolyard
where frozen footsteps in the snow
criss-cross and doubleback. And now the shroud falls away

and the wound under his nipple seeps fresh blood.
And when Jesus says, Whither I go you know,
Thomas says, We know not…how can we know the way?

Submitted: Monday, July 14, 2014

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (The Parallel Cathedral by Tom Sleigh )

Enter the verification code :

Read all 1 comments »

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. Rescue the Poor Eves!, Dr John Celes
  2. Extend hand at once, hasmukh amathalal
  3. Memory, Benhardi Dicka
  4. Canoeing, Doyen Lingua
  5. Like child, hasmukh amathalal
  6. Her Saturday Ritual, Arno Le Roux
  7. Loving Across Seasons, Arno Le Roux
  8. I wish to be earthen lamp, Aftab Alam
  9. The Business Of Life, Arno Le Roux
  10. Adaptation, maria sudibyo

Poem of the Day

poet Edgar Allan Poe

"Seldom we find," says Solomon Don Dunce,
"Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
Through all the flimsy things we see at once
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

poet Carey York

Trending Poems

  1. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. Bluebird, Charles Bukowski
  5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  6. All the World's a Stage, William Shakespeare
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. Bright Star, John Keats
  9. Being With You, Heather Burns
  10. And Death Shall Have No Dominion, Dylan Thomas

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]