C in Penmanship

By Joseph Hesch

The wrist-rapping nun taught me to hold the pen lightly,

because it makes for less stress in the penman’s wrist
and enables “a floating of ink upon the page.”
I don’t think she ever thought I would one day
dreamily skate ink figures onto a lined rink of white,
assaying loops and salchows during which sometimes
my thoughts float above their intended surface.
She couldn’t have known I’d be telling stories
                                             out of school
about how Sister Agnes bounced Dennis’s head
between her shiny and flaccid white paws,
a penguin with the touch of a polar bear.
Who would think I would ever mention
Father Duffy putting his hand on Kevin’s knee
while feeding him breakfast for serving
the lone and lonely 7:00 o’clock Mass?
How could Brother David have a clue I could pen
a description of him perching on Tommy’s
desk-bound thigh, to teach him the vagaries
of another difficult type of equation.
Nope. I’d never amount to anything unless
I practiced my P’s and Q’s.
And prayed. She said she pray for me.
                                            Good job, sister.

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