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Afflicted | Barbara Daniels

Updated: a day ago


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 DanielsTalk 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