Poem by Sarah A. Foote

August 15, 2023

Keeping Court

For the Docents and Architects of Washington National Cathedral
What is the meaning of these unclean monkeys, these savage lions and monstrous creatures?
—St. Bernard, 12th Century
Just another day of grey-
knuckling against the slick
Limestone. Clinging. Clawing
was a way of life, but I’ve got
a narrow

Foot-hold now. Sleet slips
like a released secret, by-
passing my florid features:
not grotesque, exactly,
though that’s what they’ll tell you
I am.

Alongside the fascia, pine needles
collect in my squared jowls.
I am meant to smile; grinning

is a winsome way to pass
a century or more. Visitors seek
More Famous Friends—gryphons,
a Pope (pick your favorite),
stone disciples just as reverent
and soft-cheeked
as our lacking flesh.

To be a personality hire’s
not so bad! (My function
may be in question—
I hold no beams,
certainly not sun or moon)
but a jester must keep court
at least among the pigeons & bats.

About Sarah A. Foote

Sarah A. Foote, a thirty-something Jewish violist and singer, is on a mission to write a poem a day for (at least) a year. Her recent work explores such themes as religion, modern industry, family, gender/sexuality, mental illness, and nature. She enjoys drinking cortados and jamming with other musicians. She resides in Richmond, VA with her wife and three animals.

Follow Sarah