Going Back to the Convent

This time it is no dream. After twenty-three years away
I wake in a Spokane convent in my Black Watch
plaid pajamas — daybreak, the last
day of September 1996. I used to spring from bed
at the bell's first clang. Now there's
something wrong with the bedsprings
I cannot fix.

                                Shyly, light enters, spills over
the floor of the room. Holy or not, I
feel more at home than in thirty-eight
years I lived here. Then let me admit the light,
endorse the mirror over my private
sink. Time to reopen the old account
stored in the memory bank.

                                                                What was I running from
or into? The uneasy light of the senior
prom? Mother's dream of a child bride, supported by
pennies from heaven? Or was it the writing
life laid as a sacrifice to a jealous god
on the tomb of the woman
I'd hoped to become?

                                                      Whatever it was, it will soon
be over. I write this now to reclaim it.