Sent off to boarding school at twelve, with a pair of oxfords, a pair of patents, my sterling silver christening rosary and two dozen name tags stitched like drops of blood onto the collars of starched blouses, I stare down the hall, long and dim, slippery from too many waxings. Plaster statues of the holy family live here, in cave-like niches, the Blessed Virgin, her face soft and chalky, cheeks powdered pink. Everything about her is pliable; she is to be our model. Joseph is nondescript, covered by a long brown robe. The baby sleeps. I eye the nuns, black and fluttery, and my parents, in wool, with fur collars, giddy with their new freedom. I unpack my suitcase and survey the territory. One iron bed, one chest of drawers, one slender closet. A crucifix pierces the white wall. A dark trunk opens its jaws to swallow my life.
- by Geraldine Connolly22
Praise the good-tempered summer and the red cardinal that jumps like a hot coal off the track. Praise the heavy leaves, heroines of green, frosted with silver. Praise the litter of torn paper, mulch and sticks, the spiny holly, its scarlet land mines.
Praise the black snake that whips and shudders its way across my path and the lane where grandmother and grandfather walked, arms around each other's waists next to such a river, below a blue bridge about to be crossed by a train.
In the last gasp of August, they erase the time it might be now, whispering into the darkness that passed, blue plumes of smoke and cicada, eager and doomed.
Submitted by Nola Garrett
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