by Johanna Caton

Looking like a servant,
a towel round His waist,

He knelt: a fluid-move, 
eased our sandal-straps

His fingers fleet and long– 
He began to wash our feet– 

our feet?  A blur–dazed– 
I lurched–not feet, not Him, 

Not my feet, Lord, I said.  
Not you.  I’m all sin. Wash,

wash all of me. He mused, 
touched my Achilles’ heel: 

This, He said,  is about 
sharing with me. 

Confused, I shook, without 
knowing why. Chill-veined,  

a precipice, my heart-speed 
warned me: Disaster! Pain!

A voice said, Flee!  But, no, 
I tried to prepare for Master,

for sharing with Him. Tried– 
tried to muster calm, chasten 

my scared howl, cover it 
with bluster, but I sank 

into stupor and brooded 
over my Lord as He knelt

quietly before me, waiting
next to a basin of water.

Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun of Minster Abbey in England.  Originally from Virginia, she lived in the U.S. until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to Britain.  Her poems have appeared in both online and print publications, including The Christian Century, The Windhover, Heart of Flesh, Amethyst Review, The Ekphrastic Review, St Katherine Review, Fathom Magazine and the Catholic Poetry Room webpage at integratedcatholiclife.org.

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