Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful,
for I have taken refuge in you;
in the shadow of your wings will I take refuge
until this time of trouble has gone by.
Sitting in the gazebo at Saint Meinrad Archabbey,
___she hears the sky grumbling as one cloud swells,
______its lining stretched so thin,
________all she can see is the darkness within.
Dusk slinks in beneath it.
__The first few fireflies flicker.
_____Lights go on in each eventual window
________as the monks ready for their simple beds.
At compline, their prayers prepared them for the keening
__that comes with loss, whether of light or life.
______Swatting the occasional mosquito here beneath
________the full thunder moon, she inhales air thick with solace,
the only breath possible with rain pending.
__As the first drops finally fall, she realizes how indifferent they are
______to whether her marriage lasted two years or twenty-seven.
________It’s all the same to them as they hurry down
their flights of stairs, every one of them determined
__to skip the last two steps, land hard,
______it doesn’t matter where. They are not picky.
________They have no scruples.
So of course, they alight on the bare arms
__of a wife who’s endured seven surgeries
______& a husband who left her, then told her,
________Your health problems have worn me out.
This storm doesn’t give a rip.
__It doesn’t even know it could be used for good,
______showering fields overflowing with barley
________& wheat & corn, as we all know it does,
or driving a woman to seek refuge
__in a place so vulnerable & open
______a bird, say a sparrow or finch, might glide in
________& roost right there, within an inch of her care.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.