Sister Elizabeth looks
out of window. No mirror.
Self unseen. Image only
Imagined. Pushes window
Outward, breathes air,
morning fresh, birdsong
From mulberry tree, old
still there. The cloister
Below, the red brick, arches,
Walls, no nun in sight.
At Matins eyes hard to
keep open, stifled yawns,
Chanted from memory, Latin
Words on page a dull blur.
Wonder how father is?
Aged now, pains most days.
She sniffs the air, breathes
in, tastes fresh air on tongue.
She places a hand behind
the pane of glass of window.
Her refection seen there.
Sin of sin. Vanity of vanities.
She looka at her refection.
Seen. Takes her hand away.
Makes sign of the cross.
Bell tolls. Bell tower across
the way. Who rings? Which
Sister? Lauds soon. Chants
And prayers. She fingers her
cowl, brushes nose, eyelids.
She looks away from window.
Cell tidy. Books put in shelves.
Crucifix on wall above bed.
Wooden and aged. Plaster
Christ, pinned by small nails
through hands. Mother bought
Her her first rosary. White, small,
silver cross and Christ. Mother
taught to say rosary. Word for
Word. Mother cancer eaten.
Prayers offered. She moves to
the door, goes out. Passageway
Clear. None is there. She closes
her cell door. Puts hands away
In her black habit. Walks, muses,
Silent prayers. Down the stairs,
as taught, slow but careful, not
to rush, no running. Into the
Cloister, morning sunlight touches
cloister wall and floor. Flowers
in flower bed by cloister wall,
Well tended, watered. Fingers
Rosary, thumb over the body
of Christ, rubs, smooth with
Rubbing. Goes by the refectory
door, smells of coffee, warm
Bread. On by the stairs to upper
Landings. Sister Francis by cloister
wall eyes closed, lips moving,
hands together. passes by, notes
White hands, fingers touching.
Smell of incense from church,
enters, fingers stoup, holy water,
Touches forehead, makes sign
Of Christ, moves into church,
genuflects, enters choir stalls,
Takes place. Stands till closes
Eyes, sees the image of herself
In window mirror reflected face.
NUN, LIFE, LAUDS, PRAYER
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