Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Photo: Diego Fernandes 2008

An elderly nun sat
Under a shade cloth
Like a shroud
Surrounded by a cage
Of cast-iron bars

Dreaming on her hand
Awaiting requests
Demands or questions
Her companion
In dark habit

Ushered each
Supplicant forward
Into her presence
Holding back a tide
Of queries

Pilgrims crawled
On hands and knees
Up tiny marble steps
Steep and white
Strewn with rose petals
And dry bloodstain
Reminders of previous
Penitential passages

One by one
Into that tiny iron cage
Surrounded by smells
Of rose and old bone
We slowly crawled
Staring longingly
At the saint’s relic
A broken skull

Wanting answers
From the sleeping guardian
A Sister of Pythoness.
That tired face
Wanted sleep and dreams
But I turned away
Request unspoken
To leave her
Floating in sleep
On the scent of roses.