Solemnity | By Nancy Dobson
This isn’t Notre Dame, the woman behind me hisses at her husband.
No, I think defiantly, it’s better.
But to honor the stillness in this cathedral, I say nothing.
After all, I came here for the silence.
The pink pamphlet in my hand, adorned with a Union Jack,
informs me this church possesses the largest organ in Paris.
Take that, Notre Dame, I smirk inwardly.
Everything in this city has a story:
the chalky pillar I run my hand over,
an intricately painted door propped open,
a soot-damaged statue of the Virgin Mary,
where I pay a Euro to light a candle at her feet.
Stained glass tips light over her shoulder;
it spills onto the floor in a puddled rainbow.
The tiny flame flashes, as if to chide me—
happiness might be mine if I prayed.
I wander for an hour through each widowed alcove,
study a restored Delacroix mural,
place my palm on a marble pillar
carved in the eleventh century.
My fingers trace a wooden railing edging the nave.
These things are holy,
I touch them, but I do not pray.
Nancy's work has appeared in a variety of print and online publications including Capsule Stories, Madcap Review, and Skyway Journal. She also contributes to Gold Man Review as an assistant editor. Though not a frequent tweeter, she can be found on Twitter @nancy_dobson. she/her