an angel stands behind the entrance,
water in her cupped hands made of marble.
And in the nave, two by two, hour by hour,
nuns prostrate in prayer. Now they kneel,
though you are told that in the old days
they used to lie face-down on the stone
tiles, a strip of carpet beneath them.
Imagine the floor gradually warming
under their cheeks, the sides of their
foreheads. Hours pass. Shadows move
across the window. The only cloud in the sky
finds the sun, and still they don’t move.
In the atrium, the signs instruct: write
your petition on any of the strips of yellow
legal paper. Lay it on the plate. Drop
some coins and hear their muffled clink
in the collection box. Strike a match along
the iron votive holder. Hope that this isn’t all
improvisation, even as the choir begins a hymn.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.