by Tanya Jarvik
Every time I visit, there’s less to see.
The rats and ravens have been busy,
stripping plush from the pews
and pages from the hymnals
to line their nests in the rafters.
When they finally finish
picking the place clean, and relocate
to scavenge elsewhere’s clutter,
families of termites will settle
in the beams, chewing their way
toward a tinderbox apocalypse.
Some day, I want to usher out
the noisy throng of ghosts
still meeting here each Sunday,
shoes shined and bows tied,
in defiance of dismantling and decay.
I’ll send them to a mountain
or a restaurant or a peep show
and stand alone in the aisle
watching dust motes congregate
in shafts of weak winter sun,
listening for the silence
when the last echo
of the last hallelujah has gone.