if she were given time
she would run
if no unforgiving eye turned its light on her
to the old, stone wall.
if no one sent her back indoors
she climbed up on a grassy knoll
and reached one slender hand to feel
the cracks between the tow’ring stones
and held a jutting slab with the other
lest she should sleep
and give away her misdeed.
if she felt that she had grown another inch
she would try to hoist her eyes above
the stony ledge, in vain to see
a cobbled street
and though many a man that way did pass
ne’er did she see a face to note
nor that for whom she longed
nor whom she feared

and then,
when the harsh yet golden chimes for service tolled
her hand withdrew
her small nails black with clinging moss
her golden head would turn and leave for mass
she prayed to one she never met, yet grew to care for
bit by bit, as had her father
with whom she spent her precious leisure minutes
the brightest in her day.
and sometimes,
if the silence, incessant and persistent, woke her from her slumber
or even banished sleep together, as silence sometimes can
sometimes she moved through the rows of other sleeping girls
taking care to tread without
the sound of feet upon the floor of icy stone
then, she could sit at the window
turn a naïve eye towards the wand’ring stars
and fix upon the body burning brightest
so that each sun or moon would dim and pale
in contrast to the shining light
that blessed the wistful-minded child
who dared to dream beyond her fleeting faith
and through her wist transcend the mortal bonds of stone
that formed her fate.

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