At the Church of the Saviour, Washington, D.C. Summer, 1983: Luci Shaw


Leaving outside all heat, and the confusion
of self-consciousness, as my own heart’s latch
lifts, I enter the door to God’s house. The inside
air, cool, blossoms with the scent of multiple
flower heads, and the color.

I find a seat in the circle of others.
As our glances meet, Christ looks out from
the brown eyes and the blue. His presence presses
lightly on us all, each, the unseen hand
moving in blessing from head to head.

Against the wall candles cluster – a benediction of
brown, cream, cinnamon, white – their flames
in the breath-currents moving toward each other
like tongues of fire, like fingers.
In a back row a child makes a soft sound.

A cross unites the space, its arms embracing our
diversity, its shaft both pointing up and reaching
down. As the Word comes incarnate, spoken, broken
once again, love rises in a silent incense, in a unison
of silver sound, from four-score hearts and throats.

Luci Shaw