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May 2016
Dominus misereatur
the nun said to Martha

what's that mean?
Martha said

Lord have mercy
the nun said

so why don't we say that
instead of talking to God
in a dead language?
Martha said

it is the language
of the Church
the nun said
and pointed out
other lines of Latin
to the rest of the class

Martha gazed at the black board
then lifted her eyes
to the huge crucifix
on the wall by the dark
wood boxed clock

there was dust and cobwebs
hanging from the arms
of the Crucified
and particles on
the crown of thorns
about His head

the plaster was aged
and here and there
it was worn through
to unpainted darkness

there was no hair
under His arms
as there was
under her da's arms
when he raised them
in his vest to brush
his receding hair
she mused

the nails had been
hammered into
hands and feet
causing the hands
to curl inwards like *****

exaudi orationem meam
the nun said

a girl raised her hand
what's it mean Sister Paul?

hear my prayer
the nun said

Martha wondered if
the Crucified had
been a Greek
whether he would have
worn a cloth
about his mid-drift
or been stark naked
like some Greek statues were
she'd seen in books

His eyes were half open
looking upwards

His beard had a long
string of cobweb
hanging down

needs cleaning
Martha mused
needs a good wash
she muttered
looking at the clock
tick-tocking beside Him
at half-past ten

and she muttered
a soft Amen.
Terry Collett
Written by
Terry Collett  73/M/England
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