Farewell to the Starlight in Whiskey
At Quaker Meeting
We listen to the pigeons on the rooftop coo.
They’re not your classic doves, but they will do.
The meeting house is musty, dim, and warm.
A girl unzips her coat. An elder folds his arms.
The silence deepens till we hear small rustlings,
Swallowing, slow breathing, someone’s stomach rumbling.
Where is the peace that passeth understanding?
We breathe, stock still, like cattle standing
At the feed bunks in the faint but rosy light,
Who don’t complain or preach but simply stand and wait
For one who always comes, although he’s sometimes late,
Hoping to be touched on heavy brow or shoulder blade
By him who breaks the ice so they can guzzle water,
Who dumps and spreads the mounds of sweet and fragrant fodder.