Howard Firkin
(First time for everything)
Unorthodox, this love. No prayers, no bells,
the only candles burning in my belly,
and every act of worship is an act
of tact, dissembling, watching, playing actor,
and in my heart, the music no one hears,
with words to my forgotten, hidden hymn,
small clouds in sense, as soft as pain and whimsy,
as you, a statue in that distant niche
of memory, of hunger’s aching need,
of love that comes in wingbeats, love that nears.

I will not stand to sing this morning’s song;
I’ll whisper it. I’ll hear it in my head,
and if, by chance, God hears, he’ll get it wrong—
first time for everything, as he once said.