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18: Esther Lin

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.

Praise the Scaffold in Rouen Cathedral

by Esther Lin

This bony spider, legs astride
the burrow, it is a master,
a myth of warning to those
who approach its many feet
installed by bolt and plate
among altars to Saint
Mellonius, Richard the
Lionheart, the first dukes
of Normandy, and God.
Steadfast as the church, this
scaffold debuts after each
fire and dropped bomb
of the centuries to allow study,
restoration, and caress. The scaffold
is the hero of the church, else
a charwoman who performs
swiftly, with apology
to the host and in contempt
of his guests. The god of this
church is Saturn, who sires
and dines upon his get
whenever he is wounded.
While the scaffold nourishes the god
it knows it is immortal;
it and the god are locked
in fleshly meld. The cinquefoil,
tracery, the fluted column,
they belong to a clarity of mind
we must admire but the scaffold
is a matter of instant recognition,
I am that scaffold, as all
children of complicated parents
are, as we labor to understand
and then provide.

Copyright © 2024 by Esther Lin.

About the Author

Esther LinEsther Lin was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 21 years. Her forthcoming book, Cold Thief Place, is the winner of the 2023 Alice James Award. She has been a Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. She co-organizes the Undocupoets, which promotes the work of undocumented poets and raises consciousness about the structural barriers that they face in the literary community.

Queer Poem a Day graphic

Queer Poem a Day

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and professor Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this fourth year of our series is from the second movement of the “Geistinger Sonata,” Piano Sonata No. 2 in C Sharp Minor by Ethel Smyth, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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