The monk crosses the garden’s grassy islands of ice
balancing a vaporing cup of tea on a bone saucer.
He is singing a matin in the plot.
He fingers the toughened peas in his pocket.
Their thin brittle coats diminish,
evaporating in his hands
like onion skin or flakes of golden paper.
They have been waiting, patient
as the Earth is patient in its hours
for the day. And now, above the garden,
the brothers lay down their gilded books
on angled tables to watch Gregor
break the gray crust of the garden
with a spade. And now Ave.
And now the votive’s glow in red glass.
And now dawn’s aureole peeping
around his soutane bringing light,
more perilous interrupting light.
This is how silently he breaks the world.