Sunday, October 31, 2021

At Lauds

St. Marguerite's Retreat House
Mendham, NJ



We gathered for Lauds

in the old convent chapel

across from the Episcopalian

retreat house in Mendham

as much to worship

as observe

nuns singing

in plainsong

from the Psalter


In the midst

of soft melodic chants

Petie padded in

on all fours

black and white

as their habits—

tail wagging

tags jingling

claws clicking

like cleats

against red brick


Petie traipsed

from sister to sister

including the elderly one

hunched over

in her wheelchair

From each

he received pats

or nuzzles

or a scratch

behind his ears

then he wandered

up front

by the altar

laid bare belly

against cool brick

and napped


Maude Carolan

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