I notice her, from the piano,
kneeling, head bowed, eyes closed,
fingers interlaced with beads,
lips forming the repetitive prayers of the Rosary.
She mouths the last ‘Amen’ after
the last prayer after
the last ‘Glory Be to God’ after
the last decade of the
last Sorrowful Mystery
of this Rosary before mass.
During my pan of the congregation
as I announce a run-through of new music,
her eyes lazer mine.
Her head shakes from side to side, and
her mouth contorts into a No!
I hesitate in my introduction,
smile to myself so I won’t blanch.
I feel taisered.
Five decades, twenty minutes,
in one primal gesture.
Wait—a companion has emerged beside her,
engaged in a quite different conversation,
Not about me at all, then.
That must be it.