Poem: “Anchorise”

She walls herself in
the sanctuary of the church.
Watching the ebbing splinters of light fade away as the last brick is jammed into place.
Sealing its passenger.
Introducing her to deathʼs slow march.
Bread goes in, bread goes out.
Barely touched.
Only enough to keep her breath constant.
She holds a frayed bit of cloth in her smooth hands.
She rubs it with her fingers, wearing away whatever pattern it used to possess.
And she waits for enlightenment.
Bread goes in, bread goes out.
She laughs at the uncertainty of the masses.
She tears at the roots of her hair.
The cloth she holds produces a rip in its middle.
The bells chime from outside her world,
never startling her, but cooing their sympathies.
Others arrive.
They stand by her wall
but never can touch her.
She puts her face against the cool stone and wails.
The others collectively gasp with pleasure and contemplate her mysteries.
Bread goes in, bread goes out.
Thereʼs no light here, no sound here.
She becomes a part of the church,
ceasing to remember her humanity.
The worn cloth is reduced to strands.
It falls limp in her hand,
and flutters to the floor like a dead butterfly.
She is a infection that causes one to speak in tongues.
None can understand her
but yet she raves on.
And all the clergymen say “this is a good woman and she is blessed.”
Blessed with a curse.
Blessed with a prison.
She kneads her hands into the wall.
Her eyes cannot be seen but they are empty.
The cloth decays entirely.
All thatʼs left are miserable particles of fabric.
Fated to remain stationary until
her slow descent makes them stir
in the shadow of the cross that placed them there.
Bread goes in, bread goes out.
Bread goes in,
nothing comes out.
– Saratoga Schaefer, Written 2011

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