The pastor has overturned the bell
like a teacup, its contents
spilling down from the tower
in a rich flow of sound
that is not easily wiped up
with any cloth we keep on hand.
I hold the stretched goose wings
of my newspaper
like a shield in front of me
as the searchlights of morning
flash through the kitchen window,
looking for someone else.
The sound dies down and I stand,
awash in a surf of silence,
tidal tug at my feet attempting
to drift me up that hill toward
a childhood I have put behind me,
memories rung forth by the weekly bell.
But the tremors go deeper,
a tolling that never quite stops
in the clear silences and muddy tones
of daily duties and adult obligations and
the meanders of grief. I stare at the steeple—
only an accusatory finger aimed skyward.