Clouds like clods of cosmic clay clustered
over the imposing stone monastery
and gardens splashing neon hues against
the stern chestnut robe of the Roman-nosed Franciscan
when the punkish painter with the plastic
crucifix pendant and pale purple eyes
peered past a spiral-bound sketchbook
where she practiced impressions of her
Sixteen days and seven hours later,
a fortnight after she’d shaved her head
and purchased a pair of charity shop combat boots,
she whispered those words into his
left ear, her husky tone trapped between his head
and the hedgerow,
harnessing him to a dreamlike quandary
and an improbable peace never produced
by vespers or matins.
As sweat permeated his armpits,
their astringent scent sating the artist’s nostrils,
a tattooed arm fumbled against famine-stricken fingers.
Half-coherent curiosities and clumsy caresses
enabled an engine long dormant
as the monk meandered over the limit,
unaware of what pleasure
or penance awaited him.
Adrian Slonaker zigzags back and forth across the Canadian/ US border and works as a copywriter and copy editor. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in Pangolin Review, Aerodrome, WINK: Writers in the Know, and others. He is fond of rain, wrestling, owls, folkrock music and long chats with charmingly eccentric folks.