My stint as a Catholic school girl
For ten months I wore a green plaid kilt, a white
Collared shirt, brown lace-up shoes, and
Checkered knee-highs or socks that must
Meet strict qualifications---in other words be
Victorian enough to cover those skimpy ankles.
My first day, I walked into biology with everyone regarding me
As if I were some exotic specimen for dissection.
So you're from public school, they tittered suggestively
Like I was risqué exposure to the forbidden--a pornographic magazine--
And they were naughty enough to sneak a peek.
In Church History
Our own S.S. officer, called Ms. Sweet of all monikers,
Barked you should be grateful. I smirked as I read
Aged graffiti whittled into a desk, which proclaimed
To the back row: I AM A FLAMING LESBIAN.
So there's truth in rumors after all.
My neighbor gazed at me wide-eyed, disapproving
And impressed, "you're a rabble-rouser" she breathed,
As if not quite believing rules could be challenged.
I rolled my eyes. To be that
More than one person would need to hear me. ---
More than one person would need to hear me.
I fell into a pit of lions with
High standards and low expectations.
Instead of mauling me, they admired my many-colored coat
And hugged me with conciliatory promises.
But I was offended rather than flattered
By their amazed shock at my success;
They were never surprised when I failed.
On the Wednesday before Easter, at Mass
I was issued detention for my missing blazer.
It occurred to me, as my sisters stumbled over my knees,
Rushing to be finger fed Jesus before an audience of outcasts
That the rest of us were foster children--cared for but not quite
Members of the family; we belonged to our own
Celestial tribe of spiritual nomads, only temporary guests
In this recruiting ground for nuns.
I decided then,
I can frolic free-style across the heavens
Without smearing a penitent cross on my forehead.
There is enough ash in the world as it is.