Authors and Poets
Authors and Poets

Photos used with permission from the Academy of American Poets

Last updated:
April 19, 2018
Lori M. Cameron, editor

Soeur Loupec – Sally Taylor

Soeur Loupec makes fine costumes for Carnival, swift fingers
sewing sequins on slinky gowns, taffetas and silks rustling,
ruffles on traditional costumes with bright floral cottons,
starched and folded plaid hats, and triangular fringed shawls.
The little machine hums and blinks into the night, defying
the hot darkness at the back of her tiny one-room apartment.

Soeur Loupec was waiting when two missionaries knocked,
her precious scriptures worn, cover spotted, page corners
bent back to mark a passage, pages wrinkled and smudged
from her dark finger running eagerly under the words.
Why had no one been back to see her? Yet those who
gave her the book had left for cooler climates long ago.

Soeur Loupec’s small dark body went easily under water
at baptism, her handmade white dress billowing around her,
grey hair pulled back into braids, gnarled hands tightly
holding the elder’s arm as he led her from the font. She
wiped the water from eyes caught in sunlight. Another
black sister hugged her in a towel to cushion the shining.

Soeur Loupec sings traditional Guyanese songs a capella
at the church social, her wavering voice making some notes
strong, but others lost to forgetfulness, her eyes calm
and peaceful, her hands moving, though her fingers
are splinted and bound, hands which warded off a chair
when a drug-desperate son demanded money she didn’t have.

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