XI.

Susan Sherman

XI.

There is no way to imagine her final hours    what she saw
when she finally descended into that darkness she loved
so well    Desire    once a pawn of intellect    became real
loss made it real    As once she had drawn her own blood
marveled at its consistency    her confession flowing onto
parchment    the unanswerable exploding her soul    questions

impossible to grasp    the truth of limitation    the outline
of our bodies as we confront ourselves    Sor Juana
What was it like to believe in word as symbol music magic
hieroglyph    Plato and Christ bound together    ungraceful lovers
What is more ephemeral than words    the pretence of

numbers    Sor Juana    Did you try one last time
to make that leap of faith    to purify yourself    to make of
yourself the gold without blemish    reaching for the divine

inside yourself    only to discover once again you were
only human    or did you ultimately succeed    forsaking your last
breath    as you finally let go

Excerpted from The Light that Puts an End to Dreams, a suite of Poems for Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz