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DRESDEN NUN

My habit, my shorn hair, my finger tips,
how I burn, how I turn sheeted in gold,
God's tiny Hummel, caught in a fiery mold
that explodes thought while white bones rip.
My cell cracks wide, edges like a torn lip,
one orange sucked up toward a flaming fold
of Christ and planes. In blue, the Virgin rolls
above both, as if in a distant ship.

Blood leaks from pores, flakes away, disappears,
Christ in numberless bodies rushes past,
small as children in their blackened crumbs, seared
by Love's coal — or by hard vengeance, a blast
of both. My faith goes numb in this red roar,
this thousand-tongued scream, this hot Pentecost.

      — Steve Harris