Magnificent and opulent,
the Cathedral of Toledo
stuns not only by normal
abnormal amounts of gold, jewels,
treasure. Its interior is transformed
by warm sunbeams through a sculptured,
frescoed skylight—the Transparente,
ascension from Earth to heaven and back. A column
of sunlight moves amidst the shadows,
enchants and enthralls with shifting
patterns of color and shade. Alabaster
angels ignite in their Baroque
jumble of marble and gold. At noon,
the altar is ablaze.

At the end of the plaza sits the anomalous
Synagogue of Santa Maria la Blanca,
a cast-off hull,
stripped, stark, and bare,
tourist stop, synagogue in name only.
Chair-less, empty, with walls of faded frescoes,
you can smell its poverty.
I am transfigured
in its shadows.

[First Prize, St. Louis Writers Guild Deane Wagner Poetry Contest, 2006]

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