The McKinley Review Magazine

The Abandoned Church 

By: Claudia Serea | Posted on: August 2018 

Like any abandoned place,

the church smells of piss

from the road.


The door is missing,

and all the windows, too.


We startle a flock of pigeons into flight,

and, in the commotion,

a few bricks fall.


The girls step over the debris

and bend under crumbling arches.


We could do a fashion

photo shoot here, I tell them.


A few saints watch

from the skinned walls,

stiff arms raised

in a deaf mute blessing.


Jesus is long gone from the tower.


A small cross marks the missing altar

like a grave.


Several other crooked crosses guard the yard.


I look up at the deep blue sky

circled by pigeons:


Is anyone there looking

through a huge camera lens,


at us, moving around down here,

dazed by heat?


Claudia Serea’s poems and translations have appeared in Field, New Letters, 5 a.m., Meridian, Gravel, Prairie Schooner,and many others. An eight-time Pushcart Prize and four-time Best of the Net nominee, she is the author of Angels & Beasts (Phoenicia Publishing, 2012), A Dirt Road Hangs From the Sky (8th House Publishing, 2013), To Part Is to Die a Little (Cervena Barva Press, 2015) and Nothing Important Happened Today (Broadstone Books, 2016). Serea is a founding editor of National Translation Month, and she co-hosts The Williams Poetry Readings in Rutherford, NJ. Her latest project is Twoxism, a poetry-photography collaboration blog with Maria Haro.