The Convent

For Victor de Perez

A bed for them had been a narrow plank: for a pillow,
A piece of wood we’d stack by a fireplace.

I hoped the reward for such contrition had been sublime.

Their mummified remains stood in open coffins
Leaned against a cellar wall. Dressed in coarse habits,
They had likely sewn, eternity for these nuns
Included being displayed
To disbelievers.

We passed through quickly, in silence:
Better to endure insult or loss
Than hard truth at an arm’s length;
Better, still, to stride a broad Mexico City street.

What a fine noise
Rose from that bar we found,
Where workdays ended; what a delight
To laugh in that crowded,
Smoky room.


© Joseph Murphy 2017
Originally appeared in Flutter Poetry Journal