New Poetry by Rachel C. Fletcher

by thiszine

Reflecting on Life outside the Nunnery
by Rachel C. Fletcher


Since my youth Buddha has called me,
sullen child
always joining my palms to him.
I was seen as one wise,
one more serious than my companions.
I imitated my mother’s offerings
to the great one
rather than playing at dirt and dust.


From the ends of the earth
my twenty-first year
the red cord of marriage came.
It wrapped itself about my feet,
the other end tied to a husband.
I maintained that cord,
sewing and embroidering
for a family suddenly familiar to me.


Clouds of dawn and dusk became visible—
evenings I retired to Buddha in recitation.
Ten years spent this way
until the family passed away,
becoming once again unfamiliar.
I retired to the nunnery
where the trinity of submissions holds no sway.


Mornings are quiet—
I join my palms to Buddha,
happy smile on my face.
Clouds are rootless,
hovering over mountaintops
where they are at rest.
I imitate the serious face of sky
white and blue,
placid as swift movement of birds.
I untie red cord with my embroidery,
threading only myself into this solitude,
recognition of Buddha.


Rachel C. Fletcher has been a writer and a feminist from a young age. Concentrating in Women’s Studies during her undergraduate and graduate careers, she researched the intersections of gender and sexuality in literature and religion. She continues her commitment to women’s access to quality sexual health care and information by working in development at Planned Parenthood by day. By night, she composes poems to the Moon and the Great Mother and works on her trilogy of novels based on the women characters from the medieval Welsh text The Mabinogi.


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