Wednesday May 2nd, 2018

The exercise:

Write about: Sister Gertrude.


morganna said...

Simply preaching and painting
Singing for
The Lord
Everything to His glory
Ready to say Amen!

Greg said...

@Morganna: I get a slight Sister Act vibe from your poem today, and that's a good thing!

@Marc: how's the job going then? You're being... quiet -- does this mean that nothing interesting has occurred?

Sister Gertrude
November. It's been raining all day, the sky grey and dark and the pavements puddled with water. Sunset was an hour ago but the streetlights came on well before it, scattered sporadically across the city with whole streets left dark. There's more light from the skyscrapers and tower blocks but people are packing up and going home and the lights are going out. Traffic is increasing, but it's near peak. The buses stop running in a half-hour even though they're badly overcrowded since the Metro attack blew up a train on the Blue line, and the taxis will feast like vultures, descending on people too terrified to walk home, too timid to protest the inflated fares.
Sister Gertrude stands wrapped in the curtains of a thirteenth-floor window -- floor to ceiling glass -- and looks out over the city. Her face has lines of worry and age, darkened by grime that rubs in a little deeper every day. Her hair has white strands laced through chestnut brown and she counts them every morning and writes down the new total and a tiny piece of her good humour breaks away with every increase. Her hands are wrinkled and reddened as she presses them against the window, as though she'd spent all day doing laundry by hand, but they always do this when it rains. It's a good sign though, it tells anyone who sees it that she's not one of them. She stares down the street below and wonders how many of them there are out there tonight.
"Sister?" The voice is scratchy, cracks half way through the word. She starts to turn but picks the wrong way and wraps herself tighter in the curtain.
"Goddamit," she says, turning the other way and freeing herself. She feels exposed, less protected, for a moment, but the feeling fades.
"Is that really the right word, sister?" It's hard to tell with a voice that damaged but she thinks she can hear amusement.
"I think I can ask Him to damn things, Jared," she says. "He cast out Lucifer, which was the first Act of Damnation."
"You've been reading Thomas of Nicaea again," says Jared. "He's borderline apostasy."
"Heresy. He never abandoned his faith."
"I don't think I agree," says Jared. "But it's not what we think, is it? It's wha-" He stops abruptly, listening. Gertrude hears it too, a scratching noise coming from deeper within the building -- she can't think of it as a church when it only occupies two floors of a skyscraper.
"Kettlin is still here," she says after a moment. "She brought her cats with her today."
"I'll talk to her," says Jared with a sigh.
"She worries about them."
"We all worry about something, but you don't bring your mother with you and Gabe doesn't bring his kids with him. And both of those would be more help than a couple of mangy furballs." Jared leaves and Sister Gertrude turns back to the window and the city outside.
Outside, clinging to the window with arms and legs like a crane-fly, pressing a perfectly smooth egg-shaped head against the glass, is one of them.

Marc said...

Morganna - another wonderfully done acrostic :)

Greg - other than what I shared about last week's prompts, not too much of interest going on. Well, Osoyoos is flooding due to high lake levels and there are essentially no beaches left above water.

But, you know, other than that...

Ah, you bastard. I thought that was where you were going but then I was fooled by your misdirection. Perhaps I just chose to believe that it was just cats because I didn't want one of them to be the real source of the scratching.

Either way, superbly crafted. And now I shall try to sleep.