Plain China

Meditation at St. Thomas of Aquinas

by Daniela Childers · Dartmouth College
The Sound of Silence (Austria), Taylor Hedge · Eckerd College

Kneeling, I look up at Christ strung up on wires

slowly swinging over the head of the priest

the center of attention, it’s almost garish.

 

The weight of His hips stretching the skin

more tightly over His sharpened ribs. Pulling Him down.

His back stoops.

 

The nails are the only thing keeping Him above us.

I can almost hear them tearing through His flesh.

What if He were to fall down? Stray?

 

The weight of my own hips pull me down,

the pew tempts, but I push my weight

into my elbows and through my praying fingertips.

 

Clinging. I want so strongly, so deeply,

more than could ever be fulfilled.

 

Ask and ye shall receive.

So here I am, on my knees before two men.

 

While in the corner

in a shadowed nook is Mary.

 

But I see her hands; empty

and facing downwards. And her eyes

are filled with the quiet pain of loss.

 

To create and yield and toil and suffer

except softly

in corners, shadows.

Behind Him; always. Waiting.

Is that womanhood?

 

And yet in the mornings

she is bathed in a tinted sunshine

that is so ethereal and apart,

that maybe that’s why

I prefer it.

 

The margins are always closer

to the windows and their sunlit dreams.

Those rays of hope are never in the center

but in the losses; the quiet outskirts. 

About the Author

Daniela Childers · Dartmouth College

Daniela Childers is a senior at Dartmouth College, studying anthropology with a minor in music. When she isn't writing, Daniela is immersed in her other creative interests, which include vocal performance and art. After graduation, she plans to teach elementary school. "Meditation at St. Thomas of Aquinas" first appeared in Mouth. 

About the Artist

Taylor Hedge · Eckerd College

"The Sound of Silence (Austria)" first appeared in The Eckerd Review