Bookkeeping – a poem by Alan Perry

From the Greek plain of Thessaly
Meteora rise up over the town below.
Like stretched-out cotton, white clouds
recline in the curves of towering monoliths
smoothed by weather and work,
as if to gather them for heavenly purpose.
Monks carried bricks up the mountains
one by one, gradually building monasteries
that became the apex of their lives.
They sought a hermit’s solitude--praying,
studying, living a life solely dedicated to God.
Inside, icons emerged from walls, 
frescoes of saints ringed the rooms
as candles burned from ceiling-hung sconces.
I peer into a glass case of hand-written Bibles
from the 13th century, where Greek words fill 
each page, punctuated by intricate illuminations.
I imagine hooded monks bent over texts
transcribing, then foretelling the names of all
who will be saved, long after their monastic lives.
As I leave the mountain-top sanctuary
I light a candle and sign the guest book,
hoping it’s the second time my name
appears within these walls.

Alan Perry authored Clerk of the Dead, published by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2020. His poems have appeared in Tahoma Literary Review, Heron Tree, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, and elsewhere. A Best of the Net nominee, he is a Senior Poetry Editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine.

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