Every House Has its Church

by Angela Belcaster


This one is in the bedroom,
when the sun
bends through glass, around to curtain
and pools liquid on the wall.

On the morning
of my autistic son’s twentieth birthday
I visit bringing cake and groceries
that he will eat alone
and I wonder if his house will ever have its church.

Every house has its church.

At our new house
I find it behind the chicken coop
the she-devils escaped feathered and clucking
in the hawthorn tree
and you cross-legged on the ground
coaxing them down.

Last night with Sofia, I fixed the fencing
my child on the cusp
of womanhood
she held the fence and I hammered in the twilight
hens in the trees
owl, circling above and later in bed, I waited
for the announcement of the bloody gone
which never came.
Hid well in hawthorn, then

and now the morning:
how it’s all
August weeds into pew
and I come upon you
sitting, here
hens on high and us below
and in this space between coop and trees
the sun has become church and the hens have become giants
and  between unpacking, dump runs, and Goodwill, we
have become small
powerless below
the thorn and feathers above
and we sit and hold hands and take in this doctrine and wait.

ANGELA BELCASTER lives in Bellingham, where she spends her time with loose and bound pages and six children. Her work has appeared in Florida Review, 80 Split, Rosebud, Tampa Review, Clover, A Literary Rag, and elsewhere.

Photo: “Hawthorn” by Peter Castleton