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In Which I Imagine Myself as My Great Aunt Helen 

For Helen Gorman who entered St. Joseph’s Novitiate on October 2, 1932, age 18 

Cathlin Noonan


Eat again and drink. Crack open 

briny shells to taste the long 


forgotten salt. Remove your coif, 

a husk. Uncinch 

the habit. It is a 

clock of decades stuck inside. 


Again unwind and douse the convent. 

Flush. Be eighteen. 

Within the thistle musk, 

unlace your shoes. Lay down. 


Risk the body, the blood, this time. 

You are a tender bowl, held out, 


hidden inside the coarse cloth, 

with hands in beads. 

Half-harvest hull, you’re bound 

now, small kernel. Wake. 


Now, small kernel, wake. 

Half-harvest hull, you’re bound 

with hands in beads. 

Hidden inside the coarse cloth, 


you are a tender bowl held out. 

Risk the body, the blood. This time, 


unlace your shoes. Lay down 

within the thistle musk. 

Flush and be eighteen 

again. Unwind and douse the convent 


clock, decades stuck inside 

the habit. It is 

a husk. Uncinch. 

Forgotten salt, remove your coif. 


Taste the briny shells. 

Eat and drink again. Crack open. 

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