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Katherine Meehan: a poem

Working Together We Can Achieve Anything!

An artist, a monk, and a mason walk into a nave

and the artist breaks into a joke about Dorchester Abbey –

There was sex and booze and a prior who wouldn’t behave...

Oh, the ladies kept coming and going through doors without keys!

The monk interrupts him, deadpan: A toxic environment.

And the mason laughs, and the artist swats at a bee.

The next day at work they show up with their blueprints

and diagrams. The weather is grey and they're bored;

sometimes they speak, more often they're silent.

Thinks the monk: A cathedral’s really no more than an airport –

a liminal space with prayers instead of a plane

and the same long walk to the nearest toilet –

which is to say: we get closer to heaven

on a journey with people when our purpose is split

between lift off and descent.

And the mason's lungs put on their lining of dust

as he chisels his life's minutes into the archways.

This will take many lives; within a life, many lives can be lived.

The accretion of years and details turns stone into space,

thinks the artist, But this is God’s house; no one lives here.

And he turns his ears to the endless drone of the bees.

Katherine Meehan lives in Reading. Her poetry has appeared in Brittle Star, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and The Crank. Her short fiction has appeared in Drunken Boat, Wilderness House Literary Review, Glint Literary Journal, and others. She holds a master's in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford and is working towards her first collection.

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