Ingrid Bruck


Last Rites


Sister Francis stays to the end
alone in Stella Maris Retreat House.
A day after Christmas, she lets herself in. 
Sister Clare, gone,
guests, gone,
staff, gone,
all gone except Sister Lois
who leaves two days later.

On January 1st, new owners take possession.
The last four days in December,
Sister Francis alone in the nun’s quarters  
sits last rites for the house
to the rhythm of sun, moon and ocean.

She walks stairs and hallways
past fifty bedrooms
tidies the kitchen
prays in the chapel
strolls gardens, bluff, beach
walks the labyrinth.
At the end of each day, 
she climbs up forty-two steps
and falls asleep in her bed
counting waves. 

Stella Maris was home.
Her reflection lives
in the black marble corridor
where she glided to chapel, 
along with thousands of souls
who found peace there.

On the last day of the year,
Sister Francis locks the door.
Before she leaves, she takes her key
and throws it in the sea.






Ingrid Bruck writes nature inspired poetry and grows wildflowers.  She’s a retired library director living in the Amish country of Pennsylvania that inhabits her writing. Her favorite forms are short poems, haiku, haibun, senryu, ronka and rengay. Recent works have been published by Unbroken Journal, Halcyon Days, Quatrain.Fish, Under the Basho, Mataroyshka Poetry, Entropy, Leaves of Ink and The Song Is. Poetry website: