The Order of the Holy Paraclete moves next door – Sarah Mnatzaganian

The Order of the Holy Paraclete moves next door

It’s Saturday. The builders grumble to their wives
about their sunburned backs. The sack-cloth nuns
won’t look them in the eyes.

They dig up the convent car park, tip concrete,
sprinkle holy water. Arthritic nuns need to dwindle
somewhere small and practical.

The sparrows are on holiday in the cemetery hedge,
enjoying their fresh green curtains. They don’t know
that death walks beyond the hawthorns

where the sisters lie in a grassy dormitory, crucifixes
hammered over their heads. There’s space
for ten more, maybe twelve.

Their supervisor frowns down from his wooden cross.
The rain is getting to him. No whispering,
children. Listen to the birds.


Sarah Mnatzaganian is an Anglo-Armenian poet.  Shortlisted for the Poetry Business pamphlet competition 2016/17, her poems have been published in The North, Fenland Reed, London Grip, Poems in the Waiting Room, As Above, So Below, Write to be Counted and #MeToo a women’s anthology edited by Deborah Alma.  She studies with Peter and Ann Sansom, Heidi Williamson and Moniza Alvi. 

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