I had forgotten where I was until
I opened the hotel window
and saw the grey Atlantic looking meek
but pounding and determined and inheriting the earth
all the same.
I looked at that forever horizon and thought strangely
The sister in black catholic burka
had a matching black mole on her chin
with a two and-a-half inch single hair protruding.
All of us in second grade dreamed
of pulling that hair.
And so I remember the hair and the burka
and her twacking us with a three-sided ruler
and opening the holy Baltimore catechism
so that we could memorize all the right answers
to the only questions allowed
and she allowed so very little as there was so very much
for our tiny sinning souls to memorize.
The sister’s sisters would speak in Gaelic
when they wanted a private conversation, magic
words that could not possibly mean anything
but magic because when they spoke in magic
we all noticed they would giggle and sometimes outright
laugh so it must be magic to make them forget
the ruler for just the time it took to giggle.
And it must be magic
because the only time I remember sister
being wistful was the once she talked of home,
of the green of County Cork and the wet and the smell
of the wet and how green green could be.
So. Here I am.
The catechism so carefully fed to me I have digested.
And completed the digestive process.
Heaven is not in my path.
I looked at the Atlantic and thought
Just over there. East and a little to the North.
No so far as all that.
Green, I’ve heard, and clean and wet enough
to make a hard sister soft;
a place to be wistful of;
a place to turn towards and think