10-Line Tuesday

April 16, 2019

spackling the rectory

This isn’t my place of worship, but neither was the Notre-Dame-du-Roncier 
in the Breton village where my Jewish father led the chorale for years and spoke 
a version of French that endeared him to the locals and kept the choir membership
robust. Something about this building—the stained kitchen wallpaper with faded
leaves, the tear in the porch screens, the sticky front door—equally speaks to me 
to fix it all, or at least, like my father might have, to coax a little of the old glory back. 
The walls soak up the paint I give them; I add another coat. Maybe everything needs 
more tenderness than it lets on. When they sang, my father’s choir looked half in love,
cheeks slackened by joy, and listening, we, too, were suspended somewhere between
heaven and earth, the cathedral all around us, and in us.