Embarrassment.

“When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.” G. Washington

During Mass, we were supposed to sit quietly,
tidy, with scabbed knees tight together, and feet flat.
We sang, “Hail, Holy Queen” & “Immaculate Mary”
often, because nuns liked them, and “Magnificat.”
One day, I stood instead outside, shuffling my feet,
doors closed (I’d be in trouble if I went on through).
I wore the uniform (stiff plaid skirt with box pleats,
white Peter Pan collar, and black Mary Janes, too),
but I’d forgotten my lace mantilla, and women
had to have their hair covered. Sister Mary came
looking, frowning when she found me, unforgiven.
“You forgot again? Don’t you have something else? Shame!”
She took my schoolbag, rummaged. Found tissues, not lace.
Bent a straight pin to hold the ugly thing in place.

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2 responses to “Embarrassment.

  1. Has been a while since I felt unwelcome some because of my appearance but I do recall that sinking feeling. It was awful.

    • I spent a lot of time thinking about what to do with that topic, but found my brain kept wandering back to this early moment, and that it seemed to have something to say that spoke more broadly. So, I worked it up. We’ll see how it grows. 🙂

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