A sole soldier strolls the walk where my mother
gazes over to the palisades, silvery as the bridge’s
towers. Inside, gold-threaded tapestries
are faded to a comic book’s colors, the crucifixes
splintered, Christ’s face as pocked by worm holes
as attic beams in our old house. My mother
bows to a relic holder or the lost bones it had once
displayed, stained glass painting her red and green.
In the garden, the air is herb scented. We rest on
a bench to listen to monks chanting in the chapel.
She squeezes my hand. I must be quiet. I turn
six next week. The voices rise and fall like arches.
My mother will die and so will I and I
don’t want us to. Like paradise, they sound.
from To the Final Cinder, BrickHouse Books, 2013
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Peter Weltner has published six books of fiction, including The Risk of His Music and How the Body Prays, and, in 2017, The Return of What’s Been Lost, five poetry chapbooks, among them The One-Winged Body and Water’s Eye (both in collaboration with the artist Galen Garwood), and six full length collections of poetry, News from the World at My Birth: A History, The Outerlands, To the Final Cinder, Stone Altars, Late Summer Storm in Early Winter (with photographs and paintings by Galen Garwood), and most recently The Light of the Sun Become Sea. He and his husband live in San Francisco by the ocean.
Danse Macabre is proud to name Peter Weltner our 2017 Artist-in-Residence. May our dedicated Macabristas delight in his wondrous poetics in both DM and DM du Jour throughout the year – and heartfelt thanks to Peter for his generosity in sharing his artistry with us.