i ask you how far we are from heaven.
hunched over the sunday paper like a patient gargoyle.
your eyes blinking too often, and tongue snaking
around in your mouth, as if the answer is hidden between your teeth.
you hum holy bars in the kitchenette.
say "hallelujah means praise yahweh, praise the lord"
say "angels must rest on the tongue of that word"
say "angels, oh angels hallelujah, hallelujah, rest in me"
but you haven't slept in weeks.
i hear you sob sigh into the night like a prayer.
like your table lamp is the closest thing to heaven-gates.
sometimes i still wish i could pray with you.
pluck off our sorrow feathers and
watch the angels carry them through the ceiling.
hold your hand like a steady branch
and breathe free.
but i know i'd either start laughing, or crying.
and both are told to be inappropriate during prayer.
what rests upon your tongue, but the paste of morning?
the old words, of dead men. the wet remains of one thou