We seek perfumed fragments
shards of the True Cross &
a picture of the Devil.
Votives wink, chicks in their cups
Incense burns, thick as sage in turkey stuffing.
Elpida crosses herself.
–charred and goaty!
& Sarah and I think
That He Is Not—IT!
(Though Elpida insists he is.
We beg for kourebiedes,
hold in cool lustrous palms
the pearls she wears to church.
Her mother is in a darkened bedroom
a towel over her eyes (no cookies)
be quiet get outside
Tense with trespass
we play tag in the church.
lemon confessions squeezed
from sunwarm pews.
I find a single almond candy
beneath the gaze of a hundred olive-eyed saints,
(in matching gold vests, and haloes).
They hold up three fingers each
(like Brownies) as if to bless me,
or perhaps us?,
this lozenge of being: alone and among.
& I salute back,
with christening on my tongue.
Julie Schroeder has a BA (honours English) from the University of Calgary, and an MA in English from the University of Toronto. I’ve had poetry and essays published in many literary magazines and newspapers. I maintain a semi-parodic blog translating Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations into “housewife”. A member of the Writer’s Guild of Canada since 2002, I’ve also written for film and TV. I live with my husband and sons in Hudson, Quebec.