Winter, 2003

Jaime O'Halloran


At St. Andrew's Abbey,

Valyermo, California

On the hill outside my window Christ falls
For I don't know which time. His halo
Brittle and yield-sign yellow.

His figure abstract as transubstantiation.
Calvary is made from scrap metal,
Welded and wending

Among Joshua trees, cholla and cottontails.
No hunting except for peace over the gate.
Three days of nothing that has to be

Done. Mozart in the refectory
Decorates the Great Silence
Until a bell rings and a monk

Reads from The Lives of the Saints
For tomorrow. The litter of abandoned,
Vacant tasks: a push mower

In the middle of the path; where a stump was.
The fresh earth is an empty mouth.
Bell rings outside the Divine Office.

Thunder tumbles--a breaker washing the shore of desert.
Sage trembles more green than the grey overhead.
The storm doesn't come.