THE CATHEDRAL OF MY HEART
By: Estelle Bajou
Humbles herself for absolute quiet.
She cannot keep her walls erect.
Outside her: desperate families eat their happy happy meals, watch their dumbfounding shows, watch the essentials at work, watch lightning strike and strike and strike from behind the safety glass. Sirens wail. Shots and knees and keening crack open the caste. Inside her: the choir warms up and sings but its breaths poison the air.
Her panic is but a squeak, a hinge opening the old door for the last time, an indistinct knocking, a kind breeze across a microphone, the crushed feet of gaunt children dusting a dissolving riverbank like so much sand through an hourglass.
Estelle Bajou is a French-American polymath. Her poems are featured or forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review, Broad River Review, SoFloPoJo, Middlesex, Abstract Elephant, The Closed Eye Open, and This Broken Shore. Her first poetry collection, I Never Learned to Pray, is forthcoming in 2022 from Main Street Rag. She's also a critically-praised, award-winning actor and composer. Raised in a furniture factory town in the North Carolina mountains, she now lives in New York City with a bunch of houseplants. Visit her at www.estellebajou.com.
"I write as a person with Korsakoff syndrome might compensate for gaps in memory through confabulation, 'caught,' as Stanley Kunitz put it, 'in the dangerous traffic between self and universe.' Having grown up outside organized religion, cathedrals feel like tangible expressions of human reaching to me. 'The Cathedral of My Heart,' written in New York City, summer 2020, is about the quiet panic of sustained crisis and injustice, the double vision of looking at once inside and out, a wavering in that hopeful human reaching."