by Ryan Teitman
Teitman. Litany for the City. Cathedrals
We tent our fingers to make a cathedral. This is how it's always been done—how a whisper between two palms becomes an architecture we can't fit into our mouths. We hear words like nave and remember shoveling piles of tulips into a burnt-out flatbed. An old man says cupola, and I think of knotty loaves of rye stacked like cordwood in the baker's pantry. I dream of a church's unfinished dome squinting upward like the battered eye-socket of a bare-knuckle boxer. Every dream is its own kind of shaky cathedral— joists and vaults bracing it against the weight of another morning invoked against us. There's a cathedral built from the leg bones of draft horses and saints. A cathedral of birds scaffolding the sky. A cathedral of bodies opening to each other on beds smooth as altars. A cathedral of hands unbuttoning the skin of every prayer within reach.