All my life I have been here, hiding behind the wimple
a small girl-child, listening to the remonstrations of my superiors.
" For I am like unto God," I say. They are my skeptics
as we dance the tarantella together, calling on the Virgin

to bear us over the oceans. There is sketch of me
downing a shot with the hand of sleep, as the other
tweaks my cold nipple. "Yes, it was my bite that sinned,"
the slow burn on this naked body,

pushing something artificial in me, a pretense of beauty.
Now my thoughts feel subjunctive, quieting a mind
with the counterfactual, as I lose myself in the city
of our Divine Order. Together we have taken vows,

hearing their intervals echo so long in the crypt
even the soothsayers lose their meaning. But I alone
wander the cloister with water in my hair, whispering
" Ave Maria" to the passing sisters, crying out

" We are abandoned," when I feel the sharp whip
of their flagellations. The music in my head sometimes
grows too much, and I fall ill and dream
I wear the mitre of men, and not this black habit

against my skin. Now I lie with my hair in folds
as my eyes spin circlets towards the crenellated ceiling.
" All spoils to the silent," I am told to repeat,
learning in those words the vibration of utterance.