To Our Lady of the Snow ~ Sharon Chmielarz

A dwindling band of Benedictines like disciples in The Acts
travel down the road two by two to Milbank, to Nebraska,
to Assumption in North Dakota. Their monastery closed,
their church, Our Lady of the Snow, gracing a for-sale sign.

The last order for vestments barely got finished. Brother
Sebastian the tailor called in his (blood) sister to help.
Then he packed his brown suitcase and hit the road, too.
As did the caged birds–one day twitting in a glass wall case,

the next, en route to a near-by convent. Startling
it’d been coming upon birds in the hallway to the refectory,
hearing their patient, dutiful chirps fill time like the sisters
who hang on, still able enough to clip coupons for children’s

wheelchairs. With birds, imagination must enter. A last
huzzah, an adé to Our Lady’s gardens, trails, bell tower,
graveyard, the apples swelling in summer heat, the sky
imprinted with swallows, grackles, and robins in flight.