Saint Peter’s Dome

— David Eisbach

A line of tourists heard St. Peter’s call
 To climb tight steps along that church’s dome.
 Our heads would scrape the rough and slanted wall.
 Twas hot, the moisture high, I heard a groan.
 A child’s sweet voice around the bend was counting.
 “Cinquaranta sei,” the line then moved one step.
 Our tilted necks were sore, suspense was mounting,
 Like convicts chained, we climbed to cadence set.
 “Cinquaranta otto,” “No” his mother amended.
 “Cinquaranta sette,” she corrected her son.
 A father’s sharp invective and the lesson ended.
 The frozen line began to move as one
 We reached the heights, the child could not be found.
 Was it the voice of God we heard in the round?

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