On the Feast of St. Agatha
I finished my boiled egg and toast and
slipped out the refectory door for Communion,
walking purposefully slow to give my eyes
a chance to fall where they would fall,
on the ancient oaks and Spanish moss
draped like memories over every available branch.
At the corner of two sidewalks
I paused to follow an older monk in a wheelchair
who was very familiar with this path to prayer,
whose feet slowly pulled him forward.
I relaxed into the pace he set.
As I walked behind him at a distance,
his white hair cut close and his
eyes looking toward the door of the library,
the wheels on the left side of his chair
suddenly slipped off the edge of the sidewalk.
We both stopped.
I stepped beside him and said, “Here, let me get it.”
“No, no,” he said, determined.
“I need to do it myself so that
I know where it is.”
So I stood there, my heart honoring
the lesson this teacher had given me,
beneath the oaks who have seen it all.