PPE, a poem by Katherine Duffy

Personal protective equipment must be put on
carefully, says the woman on the radio,
and in an exact sequence: first the gown,
then the hair-net… I turn up the sound,
preferring this account of magical
robing to the endless stats of doom. Also,

her words have sprung a memory:
fifth year French and we’ve nudged Sr. Joan
away from Maupassant to talk about life
in the convent. A doss class is what we’re after
but she looks alert. If even one of these
girls is hearing the call… We tease her

towards what preoccupies us: clothes.
She talks about the habit prior to Vatican II,
how every morning each piece in turn – robe,
coif, veil – was put on with precise intent
and a special prayer. No it wasn’t a pain, girls!
It was a blessed ritual! I suppose she too
was trying to describe what might save us.


Bio & Link
Katherine Duffy’s most recent publication is Talking the Owl Away (Templar Poetry, 2018). She has published two previous collections with the Dedalus Press. Website: http://www.kateduv.com

1 Comment

  1. The ritual to service beautifully put.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *