THE ANGELS OF PONT-SAINT-ESPRIT by Patricia Flaherty Pagan

by Patricia Flaherty Pagan

In her mercy, mother ties me to a chair in the attic with rough, wheat-colored rope. Fishermen tell mother that Monsieur Armunier writhes in his straightjacket yelling about serpents upon him. Nurses and nuns rush to his aid. But mother does not trust me, “ma belle jeune fille,” to the doctors at the asylum, so we guard my secret at home.

The attic roof leaks. Raindrops kiss my cheeks.

Silvery lights flash and my stomach convulses. Delicate bells of lily of the valley wrap me in their sweet aroma. I am grateful. As flames crackle in the river, seraphim rise on blue-tipped wings. Their celestial voices join in a libretto of glory. I also sing. Then I ride the crescendo of sound to them. They enfold me in their wings of sky and we soar and dip above the spreading fire.

Quiet, child, my mother says.

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