• Advent

    Michael Shewmaker

    Winter 2017

    His mother must have looked away,
    the reckless boy who teeters on
    the railing of the balcony.

    Beneath him, the congregation sings
    a final hymn in a minor key.

    Above, the oculus, gold leaf,
    the folded wings of Gabriel.

    Impossible to say what lured
    him from his seat—the choir’s appeal
    or the angel’s feet?
    What is his name
    so we might call him, safely, down—
    this child who balances between

    what cannot and what can be seen,
    the martyrs and the marbled ground?

    Michael Shewmaker is the author of Penumbra (2017), winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize. Born in Texarkana, Texas, he is the recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace Stegner fellow. His recent poems appear in Best American Poetry, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and elsewhere. He lives in San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Emily. 

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