The Glory Prelude

                                            This is the Glory Prelude
                                                               to a widow shrine system

I was raised to be forever convinced that Glory
was the prelude to everything

                                                               It worked

though I don’t mean the same thing by Glory that my mother did, that
         my mother does.

Both of us acknowledge violence: God’s mysterious prerogative for her
and for me: some atom smashing    convention-corrupting black holes
where bibles converge in a singularity with everything else:

                                                                         a massive black hellhole

may be at the center of every galaxy

The household galaxy on Durkee where everyday she calls on Glory, her partner since the death of my father in 1980:   a glory of bibles  piled beside her on my father’s side of the bed

                                                                         as weighted now as ever

                                    King james version of him pressing into the pillow,                                     printed paper hair with red Jesus streak stains on satin

On our walks in the opposite direction of the Baptists and the Black
my father and I stopped to look at every spider web full of windows
made by sticky framework
through which I saw a squeeze of Baby Flo’s 800 pounds in a tent
that was her body’s own revival, suspiciously like the tent my mother
         took me to
to be saved

without a carnival like this on the horizon

moved behind a veil-like framework
that used to cover faces at funerals

so that looking at grieving women, looking at my mother
was to see them, was to see her in a subdivided Baby Flo of confessionals
— what else am I to make of the framework of bars around her house

                                         She has sealed herself in a widow shrine system
                                                                of unchanging love for my father

             the glory of which is the perfection of the seal, perfection of the ceiling

My father of wood, chandelier, and bibles continues
to be responsible for my mother to whom he is still connected

Roots of a tree he planted when I was born raise cement squares
of pregnant sidewalk

                    His grave is a church, her god is my father’s righteous proxy

in a neighborhood nothing like the glory that defined it when my father
         bought the house
but as she puts it now, room after room of glory prelude, doors in and
         out of only

such prelude

to leave that house would break the connection, place her out of sync with the glory
she builds with the remnants of what she had and still has with daily rebuilding,

avoiding a lightness that could be hers as holes form
as it all turns to remnants.     Instead

it gains weight, means more, makes me remember every Saturday built
with Spring by Birdlegs and Pauline, Forget About Me by Prince Harold,
and I Want to Thank You Pretty Baby by Brook Benton

for the sound of glory days of my childhood
that had more than one glossy widow shrine note


If only I hadn’t played for her Amazing Grace on my toy piano
when I was six and as proud as the day I got up and walked

even more impressively than Lazarus when he got up;
I had never walked before.

“The Glory Prelude” © 2015 by Thylias Moss, is published by permission of the author.

“The Glory Prelude (to a Widow Shrine System)” is also available as a video poam, with music composed and performed by Ansted Moss. The video will be part of the “You Here Now” exhibit in the spring of 2016 at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Mo.


"Your friend has entered the tribe / of those who’ve buried their mothers"