- Sacred Moment
The Pacific's clear and green as celadon,and, although summer, it feels like fall.August winds blow steadily from the north,and the pungent scent of dying kelp waftsa sadness. Snowy plovers,sanderlings, osprey soar sovereign overheadas I walk the turning tides. Killdeers skirtthe tide line. A gull stands still as an obsidian:not scavenging, not stealing, not colonizing.Barefoot, bundled, baffled(for being a fisherman's daughter, I knowit should take flight), I thought how odd.And when I saw the fishing line, near invisible,wound round the gull: its wings bleeding,feet entangled in a snare, I cast my coatas if a net, catching the gull, swaddlingit to my breast, calming it as if my child,heart on heart, kneeling in the dunes, untila handsome stranger came along—withoutthinking, without speaking, only hopingits wings would fly, and that it wouldn't die—he and I cut the line, undid the knots,removed the barbed hook. And whenit took flight, an audience of seven youngchildren applauded in awe and delight.And then, I thought about you.I thought about the wounds of marriage.I thought about the obscurities of love.And then I thought about me.And so I made my way to the monastery [End Page 434] on the cliffs of Big Sur in search of peace.And I found Brother Isaiah in prayerand asked him his thoughts.Thoughts on entanglement. And aftera night of prayer, Isaiah the monk saidto me, "You ought to hold your spouseheart to heart, wound to wound, andhope to hope." [End Page 435]
moná toirésa ó loideáin rochelle volunteers for Médecins Sans Frontières and Catholic Relief Services. She has published in Notre Dame Review, JAMA, and New England Journal of Medicine. Her poetry books include Mourning Dove and On the Brink of the Sea, forthcoming this September from Cave Moon Press.