Sinéad Morrissey

Sinéad Morrissey

House Rules


Come in—welcome.
Dave’s told us everything.


Drop your phone in the basket—
we can take care of it.


We keep our reception clear for God.


This is the kitchen. Whoever does the cooking
also washes up. We call it Being Mother.
The men eat first so we serve them first.

They’re away right now at target practice.


And this is the Shriving Room.
Just whatever you feel the need to share.
We listen silently.


We give to Dave
Dave gives to God
so through Dave we give to God
Dave-God is the God in us
and God-in-Us is God for Dave—

We never run out.

From each according—
Don’t worry. We’ll teach you.


There’s no traffic of course.
The crows make a racket
but you soon get used to it.

We borrow each other’s clothes on Sundays—
Dave picks who wears
whose shoes.


Here’s where we Sister-Sleep.
I know. The relief.
I felt it too.
Years ago.


Dave says the heart is a needle;
if we render our lives
as a whetstone
we can pierce anything.


He’ll be back soon.

I wish I could go through my own Withholding
all over again.


Like all of us
you’ve travelled such a long way round
to be found at last.

SINÉAD MORRISSEY is the author of six poetry collections and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature. Her latest collection, On Balance, was awarded the Forward Prize in 2017.