‘Father,’ said the nun working the garden,
‘It isn’t ‘alf hot. Isn’t there anything you can do?’
And at that moment, a great breeze came through
the whole estate, the sky seemed to harden

and darken, and raindrops began to fall.
‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘But that’ll do.’
And as she said it, the wind blew
moving the clouds from her eyeline, behind the wall.

‘You played well there, god. That’s just right,
though it did take you two attempts.
You know, I wouldn’t say no to a nice warm night.’
But the night was naturally cold; wholly exempt
from anything supernatural. ‘Well, it’s alright.
You still did pretty good,’ she said without any contempt.


An unknowing foot crushed a dragonfly larva
among the grass, as in traditional garb
a rambling monk got caught on a barb.
Stamping and pulling to unhook himself, he prayed: ‘Father,

won’t you free me from this fence of man?’
There didn’t seem to be an answer anywhere.
He tried pulling again, killing some beetles, then stared
and waited for his lord to enact his plan

whatever that might turn out to be,
not that it was really for him to ask.
It was getting dark, and he could barely see.
Perhaps to stand here and wonder was his task,
but when he tried a third time he quickly became free
so, heading back to his home, he said to his god: ‘Thanks.’

Samuel W. James' poems can also be found in Allegro, The Eyewear Review, The Literary Hatchet, London Grip, Clockwise Cat, Peeking Cat, Sentinel Quarterly, Scarlet Leaf Review, Door is a Jar, The Beautiful Space, Elsewhere Journal and Ink, Sweat and Tears. Read other articles by Samuel W..