My Mom & Her Monks

My Mom & Her Monks

My Mom & Her Monks 1067 1600 Alina Stefanescu

the monks she brought to alabama from eastern europe & texas & georgia / monks she doctored, fed, & housed in the basement / monks lugging long beards the color of yellowed papers / my mom & those monks who spoke romanian but chanted in latin / one monk who loved aramaic, wild violets, & overripe bananas / another monk partial to rilke & rottweiler limericks / my mom & her monks in piggly wiggly, blazing a trail of holies behind the cart / that crew of lost litanies seeking raw cabbage / monks who fasted from meat & dairy and resisted the devil’s deodorant, electing to reek of the animal flesh they wouldn’t eat / fasting monks who inched on two feet and averted their eyes from billboards / monks crossing themselves near tabloids / monks not even peeking at pictures of dolly parton / those gluttons for prayer who rose before the sun to squeeze in a few extra matins / mom’s humble-bumble pious monks who woke us with dirges, their crowing outdoing that of the horniest roosters / early risers who peacocked about town in their super-dramatic black dresses / wild monks who never once missed communion, all lust in their hearts reserved for death / monks never married / monks not on the market for house or truck / monks speaking to sparrows on the porch where we were all brothers / mom’s porch where her monks crossed their hearts & begged the heavens for gun laws / porch where the monks inveighed against imperialism as mom tore hot wax from her legs while monks lit her kents and drank tuica / porch where monks prayed on their knees facing the swingset / dusk when my mom & her monks whispered about simone weil as she were meth–a fast, brutal high that could get you arrested / mom & the monks who prayed ropes for me. laying incense-smoked palms on my pimpled forehead / mom’s monks who mailed oils from mount athos / monks who cringed when I mentioned fracking / who said that is no way to treat our sacred earthly mother / who said that is no way to treat a woman made in god’s image / who said every broken wing is the heart of an icon / monks who cursed each frack or fuck on the planet / my mom & her monks gathering in a harem of mysteries to break unleaven bread, share a chalice of cheap merlot, and weep while listening to early l. cohen

Header photograph © Syreeta Muir.

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