Posted by: spickering | March 8, 2007

The Red Tower


At the wedding
I felt strange but handsome
On the wrong side of the aisle,
All my old friends smiling,
Feeling tingly,
Wondering, Do I look better or worse?
My hair slicked back,
New blue wool suit blazing,
Jesus and the Disciples walking around,
I thought, Surely, they think I’ve improved.
I kept gazing over my left shoulder,
Feeling tense as the groom’s family tried to figure out
Who I was.
Everything was bright, and I caught Janice’s face across the aisle
Warm like a fire, looking at me.
Her husband was like a statue next to her.
Then the doors opened and the procession began,
And all the wooden pews turned and looked back.
Then I don’t remember much about the ceremony
Except I loved that church,
That beautiful gray stone Catholic Church.
It looked like it had been transported from Sauvignon.
I also wondered why she had invited me,
Though I felt strangely proud
Like someone who had recovered from a wound in the war.
Oh, well, afterward we went out into the cool
June night
Down the steps of reason
Back into the plane of our little town’s world.
I looked back and thought just for a second I could hear
Behind the gates of the darkened garden
A boy’s choir singing,
Releasing pigeons that would fly all the way back to the Netherlands.
The people and the lights pulled me towards the top
Of the bank building to the reception.
But in my mind’s eye,
As real as the first time I fell in love,
A little child walked forward between some dunes
Of Russian snow.
And from the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg
To the castle of the Duke of Marlborough,
Distant horns blazed in recession.
Then feeling the face of all my old friendships
Turn and smile
Like the moonlight that flickered in the shiny glass,
All the royal gifts within me
Became a Church and Castle of their own.

(c) 2007 Stephen Pickering.

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