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Nancy Brewka-ClarkJune 29, 2023

Every day I meet the eyes of
that saint of rough abrasion,
Lily of the Mohawks, whose
smallpox scars vanished upon
her early death in a Montreal
mission four centuries ago, in
a portrait gracing my pencil cup,
and pray for ambitiously soulful
content. She looks at me with that
solemn face, one hand holding a
wooden cross, the other a tortoise
with a fir tree sprouting from its
shell, framed with the trunks of
rising birches, white and mottled,
a golden halo around her black
braids, and telepaths faith, faith,
faith. What do I know of myself
even now, when the years have
swarmed up in burying piles of
white pages, and my heart has
to read itself to itself, no longer
partnered with my life’s love?
A widow in typography is a lone
word atop a page, spillover from
a sentence left behind. The page
below gleams white and pure,
angelic, saintly in its knowing
silence. Since words are destined
to deface it, may they at least take
form as one unblemished stanza.

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