Dear now-I-lay-me-downs, Dear tight-white shoes, Dear if-I-dies,
I’ve nothing to do with nuns but there they are at the bottom of the stairs. One eclipses the other like the cross itself, giant hands hanging blackly. I never knew they grew this tall.
The nuns are staring at me from the other side of the street; it is night. They linger at the yellowed lip of a light, something stuffed into their fat sleeves.
The consideration of a wave. Below us, warships that won’t sink.
It is dark; they could be lovers. I want to tell them I’ve nothing to do with them. Pull each other by the belts into the shadows, I want to say, become just another black mass remembering some deep ache on the sidewalk beside the dog-torn garbage.
Or are they smoking? And maybe I’m on fire, dying a horrible death; I am a walking flame maybe, and they need to light their cigarettes.
I glance up even though there has never been a moon here. Skirts clenched now around knob-knees they’re clambering up the stairs like schoolyard girls giddy from having gotten away with something that probably doesn’t really matter.
This much is clear: every time I peel open a nun’s gown I’ll see those stolen goods, those fabulous muscles, those awkward-shaped moonless hearts.
Cerro Alegre, Valparaíso, Chile