Skip to content
Menu

Poetry

AudioRead by the author. 

 

I belong to a room on the slope of an alp
in a house for people down-at-the-heels.
Mother mends linen for the higher-ups,
the ones in chalets with curly eaves,
balconies whipped into peaks.
They look down on us
through windows latticed like pies.

At three, I saw the shade of living light.
At eight, I was enclosed as an oblate.
The universe is an egg, I said,
and the nuns promoted me.
When I refused to tell what I heard from God,
I was sent an illness that paralyzed my limbs.

My ceiling is pierced with holes.
They used a trephine.
Searchlights pour through all night.
Who are they looking for?
My trundle bed wheels to the top of the stairs.
Without seeing anyone, I drink the last
from a cup, keep mother’s needle inside my sleeve.
I never hurt anyone. This is why they sainted me.

 

 


Joan Houlihan is the author of six poetry collections, including Shadow-feast and the forthcoming It Isn’t a Ghost If It Lives in Your Chest (both from Four Way), and founder of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

 

 

Image depends on its subscribers and supporters. Join the conversation and make a contribution today.

+ Click here to make a donation.

+ Click here to subscribe to Image.


The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

If you like Image, you’ll love ImageUpdate.

Subscribe to our free newsletter here: