THE FORM OF DEVOTION 

I look out the window
to see Sacré-Cœur
shining white marble
like the moon hanging in the Paris sky. 

My friend’s apartment
is no convent
but I think of the French nuns.
And how

it begins.
A subtle opening.
Grass grows from the center of the heart.
She prays.
A vision bathed in

loss
and rheumatic fever.
My mother had rheumatic fever once
when we were too poor for health insurance.

Strep untreated.
She adores
the eucharist.
The taste of life
itself. Incorrupt.

Rests her head in the lap of the Lord
hears the heartbeat of God
in the garden of Gethsemane
breathes in the scent
of ancient olives.


RAY BALL, Ph.D., is a writer and a history professor based mainly in Anchorage, Alaska. When not in the archives or classroom, she enjoys hiking, running, and trying microbrews with her spouse. She is the author of two history books, and her creative work has recently appeared in Cirque, Rabid Oak, and West Texas Literary Review. She tweets @ProfessorBall.