Hour of approach, hour of silence.

The brother sets down his axe in the woods.


The sister sets down her glasses on the table

and waits in the moment before prayer

that throbs from the tolling of the bell.

Shadows swallow shadows in the frigid air.

Hour of departure.

Ledgers toted, windows shuttered.

Late heading homeward, children

do not stop to play on the walk.

The wind stills, the sun

in the brief moment before it sets

catches a row of white houses in its flare.

From under the hedges, the heart of the firs,

darkness rises—the blue hour.

Time stops for breath, breathes.

Ovens are lit, then streetlamps, porches.

It starts to snow. It will snow all night.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


The latest from america

Why are there so many Catholics on the nation’s highest court?
Allyson EscobarJuly 18, 2018
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Said with purpose and conviction, the Memorare can remind 20-somethings that we are not alone in our restlessness.
Allyson EscobarJuly 18, 2018
Jesus would have definitely taken his paid days of vacation—all of them.
Jack Bentz, S.J.July 18, 2018
Hasn’t the good Lord given someone to watch over you?
Terrance KleinJuly 18, 2018