We stood together,
or better, I stood by her stroller,
an incongruous American
beneath fourteen centuries of Bulgar brick,
slow-roasted by the candles
and gently eroded by the ever-rising prayers.
We listened together,
and I know she heard well,
for most anything wakes her,
to the peal and the rumble and the clear high tenor
singing to God and pleading mercy from the Lamb
same chant, same mercy, new every morning.
We looked together,
(but here I truly exaggerate,
for her hat slipped over her eyes - it was cold out),
at the gold and silver icons of the saints,
with round eyes and folded hands,
meeting death for their Lord in quiet submission and plain lines.
We left together,
past the historical plaques and gift shop,
where I bought a disc, "Penance, Lent, Resurrection",
and we stepped out into the cold city air,
a lanky American beside her round Roma eyes and folded caramel hands,
to face life for our Lord in quiet submission and plain lines.