Kelli Russell Agodon
Imagined Chapels

I sit on the floor of a museum with a man

I do not know. We are gazing at a painting

from 1508. Mary is blue but not crying.

Another man sits to my left, leans his head

against the wall. There is a woman behind me

crying. I stand up and walk into a stranger,

he says, It’s okay, darling, you’re doing fine.

There are days when the world holds

your coat and combs your hair,

there are days when what bleeds

stains your sofa, your white pants. I just want

to walk through the world where others

want to sit in silence with a painting,

when after we’ve seen everything we can

possibly see, you find a pub and order a Virgin

on the Rocks. And when I laugh because

Leonardo might never understand how

he could create something that would turn

into a drink order, for just a few moments

I felt a little bit more connected in a country

that’s not my home. And maybe if I whisper

to those around me, say: this is not a prayer,

this is not god, what I’m really saying is

—look around at how the light catches

the woman trying to film to beauty,

how we are both splendor and prayer,

we are all small gods doing the best we can.

Found In Volume 50, No. 06
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Kelli Russell Agodon
About the Author
Kelli Russell Agodon's newest book is Dialogues with Rising Tides (Copper Canyon, 2020). She is the cofounder of Two Sylvias Press, where she works as an editor and book cover designer.