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This poem is taken from PN Review 219, Volume 41 Number 1, September - October 2014.

Two Poems Rory Waterman
Ave Maria

So I pushed, like an eager pilgrim, up to the shrine,
up switchbacks of calcareous rock, alternately baked
and shaded by the olives and carobs, that rock.
Then cobbles spread near the summit – a rust-lidded well
hiding in a corner – and where they flattened out
it waited with its dark door, flat white walls,
a wave of brown-tiled roof, a cracked rose window.
Bells clanked brightly down in the shadowed town
where cars pressed to and fro, on the verge of silence.
A butterfly bounced across. A plane hit a mountain
but slid out the other side like a threaded needle.
Forcing the handle made the shrine door screech

and the bus-stop-sized room seemed too dark. But there they were,
ready to give their blessings for my offerings:
their unfitted crowns, dull and preposterous,

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