Spring 2013, Volume 14

Poetry by William Walsh

Sister Mary Armageddon Teaches Her Students to Hold a Grudge at Saint John of the Impossible Elementary School on 7th Street

The day after Easter I had a test
at the hospital to see what was wrong

with me.  She could not understand why
I could not sit still in class, and how

I could read a 4th grade history book
in thirty minutes—then from memory

I recited passages, line by line, from any page
until she was so pissed off, she slapped me

off my chair, saying “Something’s wrong
with you!” which I believed

stemmed from an incident at lunch
the previous week.  While eating my pb & j

and sipping chocolate milk,
I beat her at chess.

For a small town, you would think
I might have at least bumped into her

at some point over the years: the grocery store,
a ball game, Andrews’ Greenhouse, maybe

a 4th of July parade, yet, I never did.
Yesterday, in the obits, there she was

with a smile unlike any smile
I ever saw her with, and somehow

she looked nicer than I remember,
preceded in death by a husband

and three children
killed in a boating accident

on Lake Erie near Presque Isle in late July
a few years before becoming a nun.





BIO: William Walsh: Books include Speak So I Shall Know Thee: Interviews with Southern Writers, The Ordinary Life of a Sculptor, The Conscience of My Other Being, Under the Rock Umbrella: Contemporary American Poets from 1951-1977, and David Bottoms: Critical Essays and Interviews. His work has appeared in AWP Chronicle, Cimarron Review, Five Points, Flannery O’Connor Review, James Dickey Review, The Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, North American Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Rattle, Shenandoah, Slant, and Valparaiso Review.