A Stained Glass Window

By Ted Kooser

We can imagine this saint as if she were
seen from the side, a shimmering film

of iridescence, like that of a bubble, those
brilliant colors not actually there,

nor she with her golden pan-pipes, robe
like a waterfall, not cast in the glass itself,

but as if reflected from another window,
distant, two thousand years in the past,

yet at the speed of light across a shadowy
sanctuary, empty but for you and I,

the cold pews, rank upon rank of them,
turning their backs to us, facing all that’s

ahead, and the patron saint of music, not
yet ready to put her lips to the notes,

to play against this silence, St. Cecilia,
who sang out to God as she died.

Ted Kooser’s most recent collection of poems is Red Stilts, from Copper Canyon Press. He has a chapbook forthcoming from Pulley Press, a children’s picture book from Candlewick Press, and a collection of poems for young people from University of Nebraska Press, all due out in 2022.

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