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Walking to Mass

First, the sun:

the long pink pit of the sky’s mouth.

The snow-capped peaks of Division Street businesses

are grey cutouts of the virgin gold sky.

Lights and televisions wink in windows.

Mothers reheating waffles,

children rustling plastic lunch bags,

and Dad

if there is a dad

remarking on the bitterness of the coffee

while slathering saltines in butter.

I move on.

The darkness seems uncertain

of where it wants to hide before

the dawn forces it to retreat


into basements and dark computer rooms.

But it knows its time will come again

as sure as my boots strike the asphalt,

as the white smoke escapes my lungs

and dissolves in the pure cold air

like a personal incense.

I am the only pilgrim

this brutally quiet morning;

on my knees as the sun ascends

from the black voids of hell.