Early morning prayer

The expression of light before it breaks:
a black sky open to distant heavens;
the shocking nudity of pale tree limbs
displayed against a deep cloud canvas.

Within and without lie in such balance
for a moment I can see your face
and mine, double exposed in a window pane,
each glassy image less solid than the other.

Inside the chapel, a dark-robed nun conceals
a day-bright torch within the folds of her breviary.
A tall, tarnished figure presides in silence.
The cross, burnished brass, veils its glory
in the shadow of scant sacrifice,
the inevitable tribute of a solitary candle.

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