Medieval saints could read hearts

like Braille. This was never the case
for Mother Cabrini. As a child she put her fingers
to her chest whenever there was pain
and pressed into it,

as if the muscle needed a reminder
of the real.

Perhaps she was too weak to bear
the sacred. She thought of the chalice,
of the font, durable vessels of the holy
beside her own blue-white hands.

In a dream she broke open her chest
like communion bread and rubbed her fingers
into the bleeding muscle of her heart,
looking for messages.

In another, a man she’d never met
turned wine back into water, but it was only
a trick of the light.

There were a few miracles.
Each morning when she came into the chapel
dozens of stained glass Virgins
cast their color on the stones.


*Originally published in Gnarled Oak.

Rebecca Valley is a poet and writer living in Olympia, Wash. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming from a number of magazines, including Rattle, NECK Press Review, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She is the editor-in-chief of Drizzle Review, a book review site with a focus on minority authors and books in translation, and the poetry editor at The Drowning Gull. During the daylight hours she works as a middle school librarian.

www.rebeccavalley.com

@rebecca_valley

Jayne Marek‘s photos have appeared in publications such as Camas, Sliver of Stone, Gyroscope, Central American Literary Review, Peacock Journal, New Mexico Review, Blast Furnace, and Gravel, among others.

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