Medieval saints could read hearts

by on Apr 29, 2016

like braille. This was never the case
for Mother Cabrini. As a child she put her fingers
to her chest whenever there was pain
and pressed into it,

as if the muscle needed a reminder
of the real.

Perhaps she was too weak to bear
the sacred. She thought of the chalice,
of the font, durable vessels of the holy
beside her own blue-white hands.

In a dream she broke open her chest
like communion bread and rubbed her fingers
into the bleeding muscle of her heart,
looking for messages.

In another, a man she’d never met
turned wine back into water, but it was only
a trick of the light.

There were a few miracles.
Each morning when she came into the chapel
dozens of stained glass Virgins
cast their color on the stones.


Originally from St. Albans, Vermont, Rebecca Valley currently attends The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA as a student of comparative literature and history. Her poems have appeared recently in These Fragile Lilacs Poetry Journal and Through the Gate, and are forthcoming from Clementine (Unbound). In her free time she enjoys flea markets, podcasts, and baking bread.