Matthew Kingesly 


Lenten Silent Retreat

Holy Cross Monastery
West Park NY

monks in down parkas and baggy dungarees
shovel the paths and serpentine drive

large swaths of snow-topped
ice on the Hudson slowly swirl downstream

across the way, the Vanderbilt place
could the kin of Cornelius still haunt those halls?

on the wall of my cell (Barnabas)
an awkward still-life of the typical
blue-green vase, basket, three bosc pears, 
and what looks like a womb - a conch, perhaps?

perched on a sill in Pilgrim’s Hall
“hear no, see no, speak no evil”
‘a portrait of abuse victims,’
the artist’s statement says - set in discarded shards of marble

bestsellers on the shelves
hand-written Dewey decimals
aligned on the spines
where are Merton and Kramner and Assissi?

winter citrus arranged in a hand-hewn bowl
silk sprays of poppies in blue china vases
coral candles in polished brass holders
terra cotta pots of low flat palms
bright flame patterns on needlework cushions
The Orange is in residence here. 


Matthew Kingesly grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Southwest Virginia and now lives in New York City.  He is the author of the play underwater flight patterns, several short stories, and poems. 


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