For Sister Joanne, Upon Entering the Gates of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace

Welcome, well-come, well-cummm,
The matin bells and I will guide you inside.
You'll find us here in the still,
Still hours of each day of each year
As motionless as God's Word itself.
Our clocks have just one hand,
Measuring only the hours...
But we never see its fractional revolutions.
We depend instead on the matins
And the regularity of sparrows to our feeders.
Come, do not be ashamed of the dust and diesel
Clinging to the fibers in your skirt.
Put down your bags and brush yourself off;
We have all done the same at one time
Time? The word even tastes strange.
Yes, of course, tip the taxi driver, then cross
Inside and let him be on his way.
"Leave the Devil at your back," we say,
"And greet God with your hands."
With your hands in our garden,
You will learn a new language.
We sink our fingers in the soil, uproot the carrots
And forget such terms as:
restaurant, busy signal and warhead.
Here, bend down, run the blades of grass
Between your fingers. Drink the smell.

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Sojourners Magazine January 1992
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