I don’t know why I pulled over, idling, right before Christmas, two months of snow and
plowed onto the shoulder, each squat rambler aglow, a life-size baby Jesus reborn in the
DiPasquale’s front yard,
why everything looked different, the way the woods you got lost in as a kid seem small
and disappointing when you return to them older,
because I hadn’t been out of there that long, less than a year, and as far as I could tell in
the December blur,
beyond the slight expansion of the motherhouse infirmary, where the sick nuns, most of
them retired teachers,
convalesced or passed, where I’d volunteered during study hall changing bed pans and
pouring Hawaiian Punch into paper cups,
they hadn’t renovated the spired building I’d entered day after day, my plaid jumper
becoming more ironic with each curve.
How selfish it is after you leave a place to doubt that it could function without you.
That it all goes on was enough to make me crack, facing the grotto
I’d stood around with my class, a hundred of us, in Easter white in another season,
singing as the May queen and her court offered flowers to the stone Virgin or just
pretending to sing.