Honorable Mention in our 4th Annual Poetry Contest: “The Healing Question,” by Roberta Schultz

The Healing Question

In legends, the Fisher King’s wounds are healed by a question.

The Fisher King finds me

at Lourdes Hall.  He hides

amid the nuns on my birthday.

As I step off the elevator,

one nun seems adrift

in her lounge chair, like she

tends a trout line, watches

for bites on the glossy surface.

As I set up my guitar, she leans

forward to take an aide’s arm,

to slowly shuffle frozen hips

and swollen ankles my way.

She thrusts a gift bag forward

from which I pull a chalice—

like the grail from Arthur’s quest—

attached card calligraphed by hand.

At the inside brim

where coffee will rise

(or tea, the nuns chorus)

is another inscription—

inscrutable and true. Spelled

out in black script, Blessed.

White letters spill more Blessed

across pink wings that span

both sides of the cup’s painted

Eden scene. Smiling nuns wait

for my response. Nervous, I ask,

Am I blessed or blesséd?

The Fisher King sister kicks up heels

with a joy that jostles the jon boat.

She rows ashore to dance away

on lithe thighs made new.

By Roberta Schultz

About octoberprojectmusic

Julie Flanders Marina Belica Emil Adler
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