Matthew Girolami
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Before the war we bury the windows
Before we bury the windows we take them down

The tallest of us altar boys 
lifts a purple blade from a frozen robe

& holds it with both hands 
before handing it to me
at the bottom of the ladder

I don’t understand how anyone can make
a shard of glass a weapon

blood would draw its borders on both of us
my hand          your chest

The boy peels a red plate from the flat dusk
behind Christ

We’re told heaven is beautiful but I think
I’ll miss parsnips          coriander
sky tempering the aluminum gutters
of our houses

The boy hands me two hard fingers 
brought together in benediction

then the bow of a halo like a bottom lip

The stained glass makes its way underground
& makes way for sunlight 

There’s a basement where we wait out the war

We touch each other’s cheeks light with hair
I think I’ll miss my nose          how water
damage makes cologne of the missals

This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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