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THE ARCHITECTS PLANTED God so firmly in the center of Galway, it’s impossible to escape him.

     

His broad shoulders delay sunrise for immigrants who emerge work-ready from tent camps along River Corrib’s floodplain. His tarnished copper dome rests exposed and frail, in full view of doctors and professors who peer down from high bluffs, safe from waves of saltwater and floods of fresh.

     

His limestone facade keeps watch at daybreak when weatherworn fishermen glance east, whisper, "Protect me" before shoving Gleotag off Claddagh banks. End of day, they steer home guided by the subtlest of glints: the evening light reflecting off his golden spires.

     

With silent compassion he keeps watch over women who tarry in Dominick Street’s dim tributary alleys. His backlit countenance prompts the saddest of old men to pull low their tweed brims before walking into red-lit rooms, sends skittish others pivoting home toward wives.

     

He shouts to noontime tourists—twelve chimes echo past Eyre Square, carom the stone and mortar canyon of Shop Street. Weekenders glance over shoulders, shrug him off and resume their snapshot checklist—they’ve seen his sort before.

     

He waits as the poor arrive to ask, the wealthy to be seen, the foreign to stare, and

the lonely to belong. They bring to his doors the oil of their touch, to his smooth-worn

aisles the friction of their boots, to his sagging pews the burden of their weight. They

speak to him their grief and wishes. They weep confessions, whisper hopes. And when

they stand reverent inside, they see God through the weathered coolness of rose-stained glass, breathe in the tired musk of his air, hear the groans of settling timber and worn mortar joints—and they understand that when thrust to the center of every living moment, even God grows tired.

Brooks Rexroat lives and teaches in Cincinnati, Ohio. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming in such publications as Weave Magazine, The Literary Bohemian, The Cleveland Review, The Montreal Review, and Boston Literary Magazine. Visit him online at www.brooksrexroat.com.

In the Center

By BROOKS REXROAT

L i t e r a r y . J u i c e

An Online Literary Magazine