Lancelot Shaubert

A Storm Assaults the Stained Glass of Greenwood Chapel

 

The glass goes dark and the green field

Behind the unhidden hope of the risen

Fades from frame. The frames are black.

The seams slacken and the sudden glories

— of the time my cousin took her life

And the time my wife woke temper —

When the words and signs in the windows carried

Me back to broken, born again

And again and again in the gate of poems

And prophetic furies. Funny how a snow

Or a hard heavy heavenly raining

Will erase the rumors you really wanted

And replace their prose with the perfect word:

 

Stained glass seams. Sable cracks,

Yet to seal the scenes. A surge and another

hits the hues, how it soaks,

Till the words in the window weep their symbols:

Rivers from “life,” “resurrection” a wet thing.

 

Even the early eaves of white

Chapel stonework can change their reflection

To the dark grey of dirge played

Light and lithe, and loam and stone

Is readied for the rising of ruined buried

Things that grow grey there in the dark,

Light under heavy. Listen to the rain

Stuck in the glass, streams in the weeds,

Blood in the bones and breath in the dust.

My Sister’s Dog’s Birthday Party

 

My grandfather greets the grey scrubbed

Nurses and the night. Nicotine and smoke

He ought to have inhaled, once you consider

How asbestos beats your bronchia and air sacks

With C.O.P.D. “I could sleep on a nail”

He says to my bride. She smiles and writes

It all down for me. Ever wonder

Why we spend our summers in the sure blissful

Distance of friends who do not keep

The kind of spirit kindred that dads

And grandfathers gathered and the great pranks

Of all my brothers, all my sisters,

All of my cousins, and all of my mothers

Surrogate or Caesarian? You show up to your

Sister’s puppy’s smash birthday

Party and the people who please you there

And they look long and they love and smile

And you — for one — yearn to feel it,

To know you are loved so near home

That it hurts to realize your house thousands

Of miles away makes enough space

For a handful of friends: home is where

Hearts are seldom for home is the rest

Of the heart whose hope is rewarded

With homecoming and happy, healthy tears

Of the joy of pajamas and jars of canned

Green beans that the grace of last

Autumn offered and opened spring

Brunch at grandma’s, bounty and brethren.

Lancelot Shaubert has sold his work to markets like The New Haven Review (Yale's Institute Library), McSweeney's, The Poet's Market, Writer's Digest, The World Series Edition of Poker Pro, and many similar markets. He reinvented the photonovel for the digital age through Cold Brewed and was commissioned by the Missouri Tourism Board to create a second photonovel — The Joplin Undercurrent — that enchants and fictionalizes the history of Joplin, Missouri. Spark + Echo chose him for their 2019 writer in residence grant, commissioning him to pen four short stories.

 

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