Dead scandals form good subjects for dissection
Sister Carmela educated me
in Religious Studies.
At Roman Catholic Mass, each Saint's Day
in the Sports Hall,
her neck would thicken, her mouth would gape,
when anticipating the body of Christ.
She would shuffle towards the priest
(dead centre of the make-shift stage)
in front of the rostrum and climbing frame
as the school choir sang. (We had to wait our turn.)
Mr Macduff, an antique Maths teach from the Cairngorms
winked in her direction
when she made the sign of the cross. (Amen.)
Blushing, blessed, she sat beside the Head.
Carmela de Maidstone (her name
in the nunnery): a little old lady,
born in Belfast, with pale-blue eyes
and a cleft lip. She wielded an infamous hazelwood walking stick;
suggested I claim St Christopher,
the Patron Saint of Travellers,
as my saint's name. But days before I
knelt there at the altar
she threw off her wimple (her heavy headpiece)
and renounced her vow of celibacy.
On a cruise ship with Mr Macduff
she sailed to the sensuous Costa di Amalfi.
Rumour has it the pair retired in a fury of red wine.
He fed her oysters, olives, Arancini balls.
He asked her to spit on it,
the dock leaf; a nettle had stung his thigh
while they skipped and chortled from Salerno,
through Elysium fields, to Rome.
Hand in withered hand, they descended dusty steps
into the Vatican's catacombs.
Aaron Lembo’s debut pamphlet It’s All Gone Don Juan was published by erbacce- press (2020). He has taught English in Spain, China and Vietnam. Currently, he lives and teaches in London.