Beyond ...power came out of him that cured them all (Luke 6:19). distant, she watches Jesus moving in the raw crowd— he sees the sick: stiff flesh and pith, he touches all, strong in his long hands—air vivid, quick as fingers of flame. she looks away. her sickness? hid. how can he restore a soul? lost. her life? forfeited. so marred, dead. tell him of her spirit-wound? no word- spin can spell it, nor hands plumb rude space. too late; hope’s gone yet linger— yet look at him curing by mere command— and she hears him bless. she yearns. that man—his life burns beyond the rim of loss— *** not easy, her giving over to hope misery has its own perverse claims the first healing must be remote— long-distance breach of a shut, shamed mind: but blind, lame, deaf: see, leap, hear: a mute boy’s chatter, his laugh low Ephphthata—she hears the order breathe, unlock. She’ll try—she’ll go to him. Go! *** she heard he’d gone to Simon’s house to dine she sped dazed—a brook to sea—beyond all fear she sought— her self? her life? her blighted life. she flew through moonlight’s maze, shadows heaved her hair came loose, swung long—later remarked —belaboured— by the host and his dinner guests, but she, beyond their grasp, tight-clasped her jar of nard, and, panting, clutched it to her breast. *** At last, at Simon’s house, creep inside. reel: He’s there at table—waits for me. weep: mercy—the near sight of him: drop to his feet, kiss, embrace forgiveness beyond this world, in his eyes I drench his feet in nard—beyond paradise
Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun. She was born in the United States and lived there until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to England, where she now resides. Her poems have appeared in The Christian Century, The Windhover, The Ekphrastic Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Catholic Poetry Room, and other venues, both online and print.