Sarah Law


A tiny scrape
of nail on tooth
distracts her
from her silence;

it is vespers, and later                                                                                                                 
the scrape will turn
to an incessant tick
as vigil is kept

for Our Lady’s eve.
Thérèse kneels;
knots together
her own desire

to turn and hiss
at this sister beside her;
God knows prayer
is elusive enough

without the wretched snag
of sound. The clicking
itches through her resolve,
a mouse scratching

at the soul’s low door.
She breathes it down,
inhales the wax and wane
of the night.  But nothing

comes of intercession,
so Thérèse in poverty
offers the song
of nail on tooth.

It silvers the dark
as a grace note, gleaming
over the pause
between heaven and earth.