The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Susan Okie

Let You Fly

Panis angelicus, we sang,

Sister in her wimple and veil,

sweeping her arms in slow arcs,

shaping the Latin with full lips.


The soul a circle she drew

on the blackboard, grace the side

of the chalk shading it white,

sin the eraser, rubbing

grace out, turning the soul black.

You had to make a perfect act

of confession in case you died

in your sleep. Death might come

at any time.


My mother heard me crying,

sat on my bed in her nylon nightgown,

held me: I’m not going to die

for a long time. Other families

were the ones with problems.

When she cried, she always

locked the bathroom door.


Old photos show her in a spotlight,

singing with a big band before the war.

When your time comes to leave the nest,

I hope I’ll let you fly.


Bread of angels, melting in my mouth,

tasting of her voice.


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