Bright winter Sundays, stained-glass
colors draped over the pews.
I ushered the eldest, seating them
so gently their dentures remained
firmly clamped while they sang
tremendous mouthfuls of hymn.
Then home to a roast the color
of fine old English leather.
Pinned to cork bulletin boards,
those Sundays linger in glazed
sermons delivered according
to the latest, greatest theologies.
After sixty years of ennui,
I stay home to hear deities
murmur over the airwaves,
their frequency so high only dogs
can make out every command.
No stained-glass colors puddling
on the floor of my garage where
I crouch before a wood stove
to absorb and savor the heat.
These lonely snow-tinted Sundays
prepare me for the absolute dark
my childhood denied could happen.
The spirits on the radio boast
of creations yet to animate.
The listening dogs bark and howl
in praise or terror while I make out
only a word or two of Greek.
The wood stove crackles and smiles.
I could write a hundred sermons
for myself, all true and glistening
with lard, but no one else
would believe them, the lack of stained-
glass colors indicting me
and the voices I learned to trust.
William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.