Not all the
nuns in our school were like Sr. Rose, whod
turn into a red version of the Incredible Hulk
every time shed get angry. Her stiff,
haughty voice rising out of her fat, square body
and making the classroom walls vibrate. Or Sr.
Jacinta whose fire hydrant ankles would shake
when shed lecture us in broken English on
the wrongs of school boys wearing earrings:
In this school, we have boys and girls but
not boy- girls! Or premarital sex: Would
you give a pearl to a pig!?
There was Sr.
Angelina, whose eyes always twinkled, and who was
so filled with the spirit of the lord that every
time she saw a lower case letter T,
she took it as a sign that Jesus was with her.
Shed play her guitar every Friday in class
and sing out her praises. Id get
embarrassed at the way her rock and roll version
of the Our Father would send shivers
down my spine. After lunch, shed lead us in
prayer. She sat straight as a breadstick and her
eyes stayed devout despite the sweat dripping
down her cheeks.
Armanda who shone like a newly canonized saint
beneath her bony, crinkled self. Shed stand
in the center of our fenced in, concrete
playground, her stance half broken, peering out
behind her big black plastic frames. She seemed
to see everything that was happening at all times,
like there were eyes on the back of her bonnet,
and if she ever sensed a child in danger,
shed shout out in her strong low voice. Her
voice was never shrill or shrieking, just strong.
She rarely smiled, but when she did, she meant it
and her smiles always had a glimmer of compassion
recall any other happy nuns from my childhood,
but I know theyre out there somewhere,
singing and smiling.