We watch the friars forgetting if they had
a brother back home, pictures of themselves
fading in distant closets. What else is buried
here, the dark earth just beyond these stones?
I can tell that it is always warm in a tomb.
A crowd is watching the last remnants of a hand
being hollowed black by the chipping paint.
We press this fragment to our foreheads,
let it soak into our thoughts. At the moment
we catch a single arm in the doorway,
it becomes a ball of cotton in our throats.
At last, St. Francis, resting near the small
bones of his birds while the voices
of a choir are playing into our heads.
It still surprises us to find the thick iron bars,
chapels that can lock in the last remains
of a saint – a tooth, a vial of blood. The tiny
pieces of someone we can point to and love.
-Anne is a senior studying English at UTC.