This week’s poem, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc’s “Going to Church,” is a beautiful litany of graces. I love the music, intimacy and devotion of this poem, in praise of the “church” that exists all around us. It appears in Fay-LeBlanc’s new poetry collection, “Deke Dangle Dive,” which explores grief, masculinity, brotherhood and hockey, and which launches with a virtual reading and conversation on May 11, co-hosted by Mechanics Hall, Space and Print: A Bookstore. Register to attend at eventbrite.com.

Fay-LeBlanc’s first collection of poems, “Death of a Ventriloquist,” won the Vassar Miller Prize and was featured by Poets & Writers as one of a dozen debut collections to watch. His second book, “Deke Dangle Dive,” is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in May. He currently serves as executive director of the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance and lives in Portland with his family. He is also the founder of this column.

Going to Church
By Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

Church of the smallest word,

church of the eyeball and robins tuning morning light,

church of dog tongue,

of sidewalk riven by daisies,

of a high and tight fastball,

of the shape and smell

of my beloved’s side of the bed,

church of bricks that yesterday were building,

of bread and butter and a bottle of beer,

of creekstone and silver elm,

of voices we hear, asking in the still

dark for a body to give them breath,

church of a quaver carried thousands of miles

and given to the tiny bones inside an ear,

screenless, windowless church

of a twisting northern wind,

of the night when a wall of trees too thick

to see through called to my car,

of visions I shook from eyes

and claimed I didn’t see,

I kneel here. I bring

a tin cup of water to my lips.

Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Going to Church,” copyright © 2020 by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, originally appeared in December, and is forthcoming in Deke Dangle Dive (CavanKerry Press). It appears by permission of the author.


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