• Elizabeth Dolan

The Better Part

by Elizabeth Dolan


"Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." - Luke 10:42


Awakened by the mourning of Harlem

River fog horns, groggy, I peeked through the black window guard over the fence into the concrete yard where twenty-one nuns billowed like black sails into early mass in the gray haze. I slipped my wool sweater over my pajama top and toweled the sleep from my eyes. I abandoned my hollow -cheeked mother to the cowled baby howling in the cradle and dashed to kneel behind the nun's domed veils, shoulder-to-shoulder, a medieval, fallow flank, candles radiant like saved souls before them. Woozy from my midnight fast, in a tallowed, incensed swoon, I longed to sneak into their hallowed heaven, wound in white linen, unaware dark habits lurked there, too.