Grey Abbey, N. Ireland
by Terri Lynn Cummings

A fine rain bathes the feet of
Mary marbled in devotion.
Roses on her collar beg
for sleep. One stone after another,
the abbey closes her eyes.


Flowers nod
on emerald carpets of
grass where vacant doors
once let secrets in.

On solid walls of devotion,
elderly script declares
the rank of the wealthy.

Windows gape
at parades of
passing generations.

A leafy corset crushes
the ribs that guard
the abbey’s heart.

The altar no longer shepherds
lambs under the sanctuary’s ruined
loft. Stars reel in place
of embroidered histories.

Stubborn wall
rocks the grounds
in a long embrace.


A headstone leans
like a weary soul on its homeward trudge.
Here lies the silken gown, the woolen vest,
consecrated disarray in a pagan meadow.

A silver ray strikes old wounds
on stone -
a small name for a small soul
asleep in his dusty cradle.

Below deep layers of faith,
below grief,
coins lost in the ground
await charity.

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