Poet's Choice

By Poet's Choice
Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the Christian liturgical calendar, we're entering Advent season, the four weeks before Christmas. This year it starts on November 30. It's preceded by "ordinary time," not a period of routine, but of ordinal or numbered weeks. In Marie Howe's new collection, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, we delve into the connection between regular life and the intensified life inspired by revelation. Her "Prologue" starts in the dreary quotidian but then catapults to the least ordinary event in America's recent history: Sept. 11, 2001.

The rules, once again, applied

One loaf=one loaf. One fish=one fish.

The so-called Kings were dead.

And the woman who had been healed grew tired of

telling her story,

and sometimes asked her daughter to tell it.

People generally worshipped where their parents had

worshipped --

the men who'd hijacked the airplane prayed where the

dead pilots had been sitting,

and the passengers prayed from their seats

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