Kneeler – a poem by Barbara Daniels

She saw selectively—flaws 
in her skin, sagging thighs 
that bulked impressively 
over her knees. Her wooden 
kneeler clanked coldly, down 
for prayers, up for hymns. 
She sang in her sleep, waved 
an arm rhythmically, smiled, 
sighed. When she had breath, 
she breathed without thinking, 
thinking instead of thrushes 
in grottos of ferns, water moving 
beside them, songs plaintive, 
repeated, hawthorns unnamed 
except by the specialist, 
butterflies captured and held 
in her hands. She saw bits 
of blue wander through clover. 
Cars thrashed by. She didn’t 
believe in luck though 
she knew she was lucky. 
She knelt on the floor, on 
beach sand by water, on dark 
soil and the shining street.

Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her 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. 

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