Photograph: The Nuns and Me – a poem by Dede Mitchell

Photograph: The Nuns and Me
 
 
The image gives me back myself at twenty-two
 
            in a brown skirt 
 
and sunny blouse, 
 
smiling, 
 
one sister’s arm tucked into mine.
 
 
Their habits, like the full moon on a windy night
 
            rode the air.
 
                                    The women, mere passengers,
 
traveled       lightly      in the folds, 
 
                        each face her own.
 
 
They were contemplative
 
                                    by mission and by nature, except
 
            Patricia from Ireland
 
                        who folded the laundry—those lunar gowns—
 
                                                and carried me along with her brogue
 
                                    and bravado—a stormy tale of drugs, poverty
 
                        and unlikely rescue 
 

in the quiet kindness
 
                                    she often felt compelled to disrupt.
 
            
You look happy, a friend says of the picture.
 
It’s decades later.
            
            Maybe I was.
 
I’m married now, have two sons, write poetry.
 
Maybe I would have been.
 

Dede Mitchell‘s work has appeared in NC Literary Review, Kakalak 2013, Role Reboot, and is forthcoming in Cider Press Review. You can also find some of my writing (as “Dede”) at OurBlueBoat.org, a blog that celebrates and muses on our relationship with the earth.

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