Manual on Building the Cathedral of the Solitary Transcript by Amanda Hope

Hi, my name is Amanda Hope, and this poem is called “Manual on Building the Cathedral of the Solitary.”

If there were a creature more enormous than a whale,
frame the roof with the bones it leaves behind.
The stained-glass windows will depict the longing gazes
of animals raised by people and returned to their own kind.
The construction is best accomplished by the inept hammering
of each tiny ballerina who, at her first recital, lost time
with the music, and learned from the tender laughter of adults
that she’s most charming when she fails. Make candles
from the wax found in a queenless hive. See by their light
the eyes of the animals, how they crave the touch of hands.
The girls will invent a hymn in no known key. The chamber
is bounded only by their sound. No keystone. No corbel. No beam.