Portrait of a Jain Nun

Courtney Price

Thin white sheet
over thin saffron skin.
She does not question
why God made women feeble
because God never made women
or trees or flowers. Or men.
Her hands are always full
of peacock feathers, a water can,
and the responsibility not to take a life.
For the worm, she does not eat in the dark.
For the spider, she sleeps on one side.
For the mosquito, she does not swat.
She plucks out the hairs on her head.
One by one.
There is no garlic on her breath.
She says Some people believe diamonds
are forever. This is not true.
Instead, she spends her days
breathing low and steady,
thinking of what it is
that she is—and how much effort
goes into making honey.