The Church Across the Street
by Roger Jones

Suddenly the double wooden doors
in front fly open;.
Bride and groom, smiles flashing,
step out blinking into bright light,
cameras snapping.

Stooping into a waiting car,
they drive off to fanfare, friends
and family throwing seed, loitering
afterwards, laughter in the parking lot.

Some days guests arrive in black, solemn.
Later they re-emerge, pass wordless to cars:
couples, families, single guests, walking
heads down, alone down the street,
car doors slamming like one sound.

Each Sunday we hear the organ clear its throat,
make music inside, join to the voices
faintly, as if far away, as if they
sang to make a fortress.

At night, empty, the church is quiet again.
A dim beam shining down from the ceiling
bathes polished wooden pews with light,
while an old owl who lives in the eaves
calls out over and over until wee hours.

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