This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Sally Read.                                                                                                          


I watch the push of soft red petal from the cactus’ tip,
the sticky cobweb strung from spike to spike.
These days, when prayer’s too hoarse, too ripped
for words—I cannot say a word—does that still count?
Answer: we know how his tight mesh of skin that night
leaked drops of blood. And how the angel came,
pushed through the dark like hand through sleeve,
like notes of ordered song from vicious wind. All comes
from inside out. Dread thoughts escape, un-skinned,
and wild—like moths or silver flash of olive leaves—
but, too, the angel comes from where he hid, and sings.
The curtain tears and so does skin and so does prayer;
it is a kind of wordless tearing—our brokenness used
as entry for him; our brokenness filled by his.


Sally Read is poet in residence at the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs. She is the author of three books of poetry (which she wrote before her conversion to Catholicism): The Day Hospital (2012), Broken Sleep (2009), and The Point of Splitting (2005), all published by Bloodaxe Books, and the story of her nine-month conversion from atheism to Catholicism, Night’s Bright Darkness, published by Ignatius Press. Her newest book, Annunciation: a Call to Faith in a Broken World, is available on

Print this entry