Sister Valeria

by Siva Ramanathan
The Writer's Block
Honorable Mention, June 2018
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


And so she made me stay with her
for two years, teaching me how to look at
and for objects —
the hastily perceived precision
like the focusing of a lens;
wavering lights became static
liquids solid.

Valeria was my looking glass,
my pair of German lenses,
both convex and concave;
she showed me depth of a field;
I saw the Grotto Mary plus
the Infant.

Then Valeria, Valeria, Valeria.

She made me do Satan
elevating my acting prowess.
My friends called her Valerika,
meaning cucumber.

Divide with a bread knife,
give away a bite of chocolate
to the sweeper woman’s daughter.
I learnt to keep a pocket note book
for variant spellings, and a small box for
eating Threptin biscuits.

In short she made the Angels
of the Holy Angels come true.
She made me forgive Adelaide
and Berthela Sisters who always
wanted to see my Appa.



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