Good Friday, St. Peter’s Anglican, The East Bronx

by Christine Potter
The Waters
Third Place, June 2019
Judged by Melissa Studdard

I remember a white blink of lightning through blue and gold
Victorian stained glass as we sang The Passion, a stuttering

roll of thunder and the choir loft humid as the inside of a tulip.
For five minutes a crazy gush of rain. Ten minutes later, sun.

When we went outside, the air was a dank sweater and our
cars berry-bright, water-spangled, a little silly. Traffic flashed

and beeped around Westchester Square. Steam rose in skinny
fingers from the sidewalk and the cemetery beside the church

vibrated, much too green for belief. The sky still complained
somewhere out over Long Island Sound and the little white

chicken who’d survived somebody’s secret graveside Santeria
rite kicked at the grass, pulling worms from the soft, wet earth.

Though a snapshot of a moment in time, “Good Friday, St. Peter’s Anglican, The East Bronx” bustles with activity and unspoken ideas that, through allusion, expand far beyond the horizon of the literal world of the poem. The description is beautiful throughout, and the shifts in scale from huge to small keep the reader ever alert, ever interested. --Melissa Studdard