The monks at the retreat were

pickled, ugly. Chanting children who

spent so much time considering the world that

they could no longer see it.

The nuns wore their habits well -

a quarter of gin before evening worship.

Routine and rosaries, rounded bellies.

Modern life terrified them, fossil-like

in their airless buildings.

The scientist wanted everything to

deconstruct into digits, to brag

that even magic was a simple equation.

Each night, they shunned sleep, trying

to formulate love.

Alone.