about the life of a favorite saint.
saint, I want to read about the Nyacks
and how they made birch bark canoes.
St. Lucy, Clare replied.
St. Peter, said Kathleen.
Next time girls. Today, I’ve selected St. Ann, Sister said.
Sister said, let’s all say one Hail Mary
to settle us down, clear our minds.
I want to jump in that birch bark canoe,
push out into the Hudson, dip my paddle
into endless hidden passages of watery time.
the sides of the thin bark skin. I want to see the Red-tail fly, spot its nest on the Palisades,
find the wind-worn faces of the ancestors
in the cloud streaked sky.
talking about something I couldn’t really hear.
She tapped my canoe with her finger.
“And you, you, what did you like best
about the life of St. Ann?”
“Well, Sister, said I, the thing I liked best
was the Hail Mary. It settled my mind,
just as you said it would.”