Afflicted | Barbara Daniels
Updated: Mar 30, 2020
Sometimes I confuse Saint Benedict
with Saint Brendan, one very good looking,
the other adjusting the jaw of a wrench.
Night birds sing. Wind riffles leaves.
Saint Benedict had a sister—Saint
Scholastica. That must be meaningful.
Saints got up in the night to pray in cold
churches. The haunches of arches carry stress
out through walls, so churches still stand.
In moonlight their carvings seem bitten away.
Consider the word afflicted—knocked
against, stricken. Saint Benedict’s monks
tried to poison him. I think he might have
found refuge in the alphabet, reading, moving
manuscripts, hiding at the halfway mark,
the l, the m, saved by a bastion of letters.
Saint Scholastica’s soul took the form of
a dove. Listen. It’s calling in the trees.
Barbara Daniels’ Talk to the Lioness is forthcoming from Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Daniels’ poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts