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by Harry Thurston

My father is up there, on his knees,
on the church roof where he shouldn’t be,
clinging at a mortal angle
to the coves and gables,
a mere man balanced
between belief and faith.

My father is up there, on his knees,
on the church roof, buttressed in air.
Will he fall, I pray not;
if so, will he be saved, I pray—
the questions we ask ourselves,
and god, if we believe?

My father is up there, on his knees,
on the church roof, halfway to heaven,
trying to keep bread on the table,
rain from falling on the bowed heads
of the faithful, to keep from falling
himself, into eternity.

My father is up there, on his knees,
on the church roof, over fifty,
still unsure whether he believes
in anything more than he can measure,
cut and fit—in the shadow of the exalted steeple,
the salt horizon straight as a T-square.

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Published in Arc 62: Summer 2009
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