by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

After a long day at the hospital–
tests performed on her mother, tests that leave
her mother radioactive–the woman heads
towards school and spends
her evening with her English impaired
students. She struggles
to help them learn the rules
of grammar that they should have learned
years ago. The more advanced students wrestle
their sentences into paragraphs and shape
essays out of chaos.

She drives home late, stinking
of stale hospital air and close
classrooms. She notices the dark
spire of a neighborhood church, the garish
neon of surrounding fast
food dives and a strip joint.

She wishes the church
had a drive through. Short
of time and shorn of sleep,
she could use a benediction
to go. She longs for the celestial
bath that could strip
away her earthly grime, leave
her pure and prepared
for the next day’s struggles.

Instead she returns to her snug
cottage of a condo. She submits
to a quick shower while tea steeps
in the pot that she crafted in a different life.
She cuts some coconut bread
left by a concerned friend. With tea
and bread, ensconced in a comforter,
she reads the Psalms and waits
the night watch, willing sleep to com

  1. My God, thank you for supplying me with such a wonderful spouse to stem my cynicism and too easy depression.

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