Glasses halfway down her nose,

Staring me down—

No ruckus allowed! Nagging me.

I repay her with all kinds of grief:

the same currency she grants me.


I cartoon her chin wattle, her saggy arms,

laughing at her wide behind.  Caught,

I’m banished to the Principal—

Corporal re-education—a whacking!

The old hag! I hate her! I know I do—but I—


I—love—her—yes—God, I do. In her I witness

Mother Mary’s labor groaning, I see

sweet Jesus lugging His cross uphill. Every dear saint’s

eventual demise. I recall

my body is the temple shul and


my beloved Rabbi, wonder teacher—

Alpha and Omega’s outstretched arms

opening the sacred scrolls,

revealing God’s Eternal Light

written deep in me.

—Claire Nail