At St Sulpice, I repeat my ritual. My last ten Euro so I can light candles and sit
a while. I remember the story Dine told me, of how Lawrence cried a big damp stamp
onto the stone, in that place – the grotto where Mary is holding
her dead son in her arms. On one side of her, the angel looks to heaven,
on the other, to the earth. How, here, when he was a little boy, his mother
brought him for his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism, and how, later,
in his atheism, it was the one place he could grieve for her.
I have come to ask for miracles,
and so, I sit to remember. A grandmother appears. She brings three small
children; she is teaching them to pray. The black woman beside me weeps and
weeps and I am sorry I have no hanky to offer her and she rejects
my hand, but offers me matches.
I light candles, lighting one off the other as if the light of one person spreads
that way and it feels right, until one burns so bright so and so fast the container
for the votive goes in flames – so bright, so fast, so wild and full, it burns out
far too soon and I am suddenly inconsolable.