Kneeling at the altar, 
a bell rings. 
Filling for a second the empty church,
pushing the flickering light of prayer candles into my periphery. 

Father Joe comes out from the sacristy,
“That was God…”, winking, tilting his head in a “now-you-know” way.
I begin praying again confident I was heard, 
ignoring the scratch of the victorian red carpet against my knees.

I haven’t heard another bell since. 

That upset me for years
until I realized that a bell
is not the only sound,
a robe does not make a priest, 
an altar is not always carpeted.