HERE COMES THE BRIDE.
I love the birds and the song of birds, said Sister Blaise. I hear the voice of my bridegroom when they sing; in the flapping of their wings; when they peck at my hands I feel His presence. The cloister garth’s flowers have His scent about them; the breeze speaks to me of Him, how unworthy I am to be His bride. Sister Agnes peers at me from her window; I pretend not to see or to know. Her eyes are always upon me; she seeks me out like one wanting company. In the cloister at night after Compline, she wanders in my shadow as I make my way to my cell for prayer and sleep. I am the unworthy bride; I chastise my flesh for my ways and sins. My sister, Charlotte bathes in her sins like one preparing for a party and as a child she would pull wings off butterflies; throw frogs in the air awaiting them to fly. She says I am wasting my life on a crucified lie; that my womb will stink of death. I touch the feet of my bridegroom’s mother; she smiles at my words and simple gaze. My mother spoke of my bridegroom with jealousy; her words echo in my mind across the years. Unworthy to be His, she said, unworthy to be at His side, she muttered, as I knelt in prayer or rubbed my beads. I love the dawn; the light that comes like my bridegroom to wake me from slumber. He is handsome; my heart leaps when He takes my hand and leads me to my work and prayer. At night, I embrace Him; listen to His words in the wind that rattles my window. David embraced me once; kissed me on our way home from the cinema. He spoke of marriage; the outpouring of children; the ways of the flesh. His hand was upon me; his lips brushed against mine. Now he has married another; she is barren as an empty barrel; freezes when he touches her with his pinkie pores. The bell rings for Lauds. My bridegroom waits for my voice and praise; He sits in His chamber for my attendance and words to flow over Him like water. Sister Elizabeth walks with her eyes lowered; her hands are joined in her secret prayer; she knows my bridegroom like my matron-of-honour; she kisses my cheek in the dreams of her night. In the refectory she stares at me from across the room; her hands held in front gesturing words. My bridegroom awaits; His attendants prepare His robes of white and red; His bride enters His chamber with a smile and her love. I want Him to come to me, His hand to touch my brow and embrace my flesh. The perfume of His incense enfolds me; His voice speaks of my secret love; my heart leaps when He touches my tongue. I sing to Him; wrap my words to the music of voices; kneel before Him like one making love in the raptures of feelings, prayers and the morning’s cold kiss. I have come, my love, I am here for your blessing and kisses.