for Sister A-M

     BLSE, 1971


There is a certain danger coming

back to it like this after so long

the cabin in the woods filled

with women emerging each morning

without their habits most of them

without even their veils making

their way among us so who could tell

who was in service to which vow

or what it looked like in practice


this one my favorite


whose long red hair came to an end

in easy curls whose easy laugh

took all derision out of laughter

no piece of jewelry whatever

just one small cross no bigger

than a button on a vermilion

chain so slight I only saw it

fast on her flushed throat

when we stopped dancing

Kurt Heinzelman MA ‘72 is a scholar, poet, translator, and editor; he is a professor of English at the University of Texas—Austin.