You look to the clouds
To the blue blankness overhead
Cross yourselves, fall to your knees
Talk to sharp shards of stars
Brittle black emptiness.
No, look down at your toes in the silt:
God says “Good morning.”
His creatures waste no time looking up.
The rippling speech of the creek,
The rhythmic grinding of the foraging cows,
Heads all bowed to their green communion,
Are the liturgy and homily of this, the richest cathedral.
When everything else has changed, even the heavens,
I have not. I will stay water, no matter what comes.
There is a reason I am ritual,
Every kind of metaphor, 
The only balm for every kind of sore.




Rita Quillen’s new full-length poetry collection, THE MAD FARMER’S WIFE, will be published in 2016 by Texas Review Press, a Texas A & M affiliation. Her novel HIDING EZRA, just released by Little Creek Books, was a finalist for the 2005 DANA Awards, and a chapter of the novel is included in TALKING APPALACHIAN , a scholarly study of Appalachian dialect published by the University of Kentucky Press in 2014She also published a new poetry chapbook from Finishing Line Press in 2014 titled SOMETHING SOLID TO ANCHOR TO.  One of six semi- finalists for the 2012-14 Poet Laureate of Virginia, she received a Pushcart nomination in 2012 and 2015, and a Best of the Net nomination in 2012.