Sister Felicity fifty years a bride of Christ hiding her arms thin with labor in the habit the young ones reject. she watches them in their blue suits they look like old Girl Scouts she thinks, but does not say now she barely remembers her childhood home her father swinging her high in the cherry orchard so she could pick the lowest fruit, fifty years of laundry of the saying of the hours, hard carved chairs in the chapel, Matins, Lauds. often alone in the chapel while the younger sisters slept, singing although her voice is flat and harsh. Sister Felicity do you remember me, disobedient child who did not wince at the ruler’s crack, whose angry initials ate into the scarred oak desktop, whose shouts from the cloakroom prison disturbed the recitation? Sister Felicity, I would kneel next to you now on the hard concrete, say the words you tried so hard to teach me.
Journals publishing Janet McCann’s work include Kansas Quarterly, Parnassus, Nimrod, Sou’Wester, America, The Christian Century, Christianity and Literature, News York Quarterly, Tendril, and others. A 1989 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship winner, she taught at Texas A & M University from 1969-2016, is now Professor Emerita. Most recent poetry collection: The Crone at the Casino (Lamar University Press, 2014).