Last Word

The words flew
one by one
from the cage of her mind.
A few fluttered, circling,
and some their toes strained
in fierce but futile curl
around the perch of meaning.
She stared at them from the windows
of her curtainless eyes
until the lure of air
fled them from her
and even stray fallen feathers were borne
on the air
Two tactics calmed her mind
when it ascended into Babel clamour-
a baby doll, malleable as flesh
yet throwably sturdy;
and paper and pencil to make her mark
in a flat-lining script devoid of curves
and fleet of meaning.
Except for one word
rising like the trace of an irregular heartbeat
from the repeated plains-
a cipher from beyond cognition.
She, Mercy, wrote love
Mercy her name, no pun,
for here there was no killing,
just the ambiguity of the wait.
Love- was it resolve or command,
prayer and yearning,
past or goal?
In the gnomic simplicity of her mind
it became the only word,
replete in the scarcity.
Nothing left to lose,
she slipped
into the restorative amplitude of the beyond.
They buried the doll with her,
hidden at the foot of her nun’s coffin.
At the funeral the story was told of her scribing
and the word found flesh again.

(thanks to Mary of Mercy Cleary rsm)