They are beautiful
said the old man of the old nuns
who hid themselves for purity
behind stone walls.
The young man listened,
head bowed. They are gentle
and kind, said the old man
with an even tone.
His eyes were on the windowsill
where a fly had died. He thought about life
and the cruel simplicity of dead things,
wishing both that nature were kinder
and that men would be more
natural. The younger
had that morning killed
nine flies with his bare hands,
hoping to help the matron of the house,
the old man’s wife,
who had started stacking dishes
when she saw the familiar forward hunch
of her husband readying to muse.
And the fly stayed dead and the nuns
kind behind their wall
as women and children hurried
around him, doing ordinary things.