At least may my heart repeat it with every breath I take.
Her mother found the blood upon her sheets that morning, crossed herself to mark what she thought was a daughter's normal passage, while Marie slipped out the door to school to avoid her family's questioning eyes, a father who would surely shout his daughter's coming of age and his plans to betroth her to a prosperous young man of the town. What she needed to accomplish was easily done in an alley, with only God to watch her. Cradling her hands, she wondered only how she would now hold the pen, carefully copy the psalms. She had given herself to him and the means of entry and egress -- his spirit wracking her thin body -- now leaked from palm and foot, seeped a slow river from her side. But then, why copy the psalms at all when the new singing inside her created more potent music, waiting only to be annotated and sung? At home that night, Marie dressed for sleep, carefully unwrapping the layers of gauze to kiss the marks of his claim, then lay herself down like an offering to await his return, singing a song the pope himself would call a blasphemy in centuries to come, the willfulness of a child who took a knife to her own flesh in order to better avoid becoming a temporal bride.