Belts and Feathers


They named her Francis the day she entered into their home. A lost and wounded woman forgetful of her nature, name, and needs. They named her Francis for the way her face drooped to the side like the monks of Franciscan art, their heads tilted downward inspecting their inner depths as if their ears were bent to the calling of the Lord and so she too strove to hear it. This art littered their hallways - dark caverns of ancient stone floors and molding wood walls - and filled their minds like a daily bread loaded with reminders of sacrifice and perseverance. Solemn and quiet stirred throughout the still house. The shuffling of habits brushing slate tile under the murmurs of unconscious prayer.

Francis was not their first visitor to slip in through the black shall of night, her demon deliverance a quiet and common affair turned ritual as they traded her damp clothing for dry woolens and blessed her with holy waters. Her head would rest on down pillows that night and, like so many others, would stir no more.