The Common Good
March-April 2001

St. Teresa Puts in a Skylight

by Margaret C. Szumoweski | March-April 2001

St. Teresa

Puts in a Skylight

St. Teresa
Puts in a Skylight

The woman made love to her husband
and told another man she loved him.
Sorry, sorry, sorry, what a sorry excuse
for a woman is how she felt.

Father Cain doused her with holy water,
and suddenly she woke up and knew
she'd acted like a teenager picking up
guys from all the wrong dives.

Holy water cured her or else it was reading
Teresa of Avila whose soul
was a mirror of God and who seemed
perfectly willing, like the woman's mother-in-law,

to clean up any messes. The woman
could send her soul to Teresa at the Golden Glory
Carwash and good old Teresa would give it
such a scrub and shine, it would look like new

after all the dents and scrapes.
Maybe Teresa could put in a skylight.
This woman didn't even know how
to keep her windows clean,

mud free, visibility good, prevent another accident-
a little sneaky shop-lifting of love from somebody else,
a little love larceny that would mess up,
clutter her only soul again. "Teresa, Teresa,"

she called. And Teresa answered,
"See how the light comes in now.
Your soul is clean as fresh snow."

Margaret C. Szumowski served for several years with the Peace Corps in Zaire and Ethiopia. She now teaches English at Springfield Technical Community College in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

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