poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, October 27, 2017.
About this Poem 
“As a lapsed Anglican, I’m fascinated by the interplay between the sacred and the mundane, the way one can be elevated (or lowered) to the level of the other. I wanted to explore the feeling of realizing the object of one’s devotion is anything but godlike; a tear in the fabric of one’s reality.”
—Alex Manley
 

Numinous

When the pantheon crumbles, does gravity still work? 
What happens to the arcing satellites? What do you do 
when the high priests have hung up their mitres, when
the shepherd crooks have all gone straight, when the 
curtain is torn, the covenant broke, the tithes spilled all 
across the tiles? Which parishes do you frequent, whose 
statutes do you study, whose name is on your lips when 
you self-flagellate? To whom do you whisper your death
bed confession, alone in the dark, lying atop a certain hill, 
bleeding on a certain throne of thorns? What do you do 
when the sky opens? There are books about this, but 
none written from experience. Like how a baby’s first word
isn’t really its first word, just the first one that’s understood.
The process of rapprochement happens slowly, then all 
at once. Just like the apocalypse, which is unevenly 
distributed, but speeding up. Here we go. Into the breach.
 

Copyright © 2017 by Alex Manley. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2017 by Alex Manley. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 27, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

Alex Manley

Alex Manley

Alex Manley is the author of We Are All Just Animals & Plants (Metatron Press, 2016). He lives in Montreal, Canada.