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Sight singing

9.1. 2009


New to the hymnal,
I fumbled forward, note by note, unsure
which stone in the river

to step on next. The water rumbled with centuries
of voices, and under
the book, our fingers touched, sparking

a descant that flowed out
into next year. When the priest called “Lift up
your hearts,” she sounded

like hers was held already in God’s hand.
And when I heard
the gravel rasp in your throat, a little flat,

even though one bass
note swelled behind me, and a tenor to the right
shifted his weight,

it was your scrape of rocks on riverbed
that ferried me
downstream, that carried me into the land.
Hannah Faith Notess attends Seattle
Mennonite Church.

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