She found these men in long coats strange,
their closed faces, their tall and silent lines
counterpoised her missionary stock. Across the Aegean,
the Turkish mainland might be imagined
a hundred years ago, sailing vessels coming into port,
a girl of thirteen, bred on the bible at distances
the Word could go, and on the tongues of a million
foreign mouths, arbitrating life. The church on Rhodes
half in ruin, the other, synagogue, the one of many
that alone remains. She might have set out of a day
to see the isles, to speak to women not veiled.
A girl of thirteen can only be as old as her hands,
who they have felt, bathed, help to heal.
She believed in something that escapes the page.
I see her hand in the curve of the bay.
Perhaps the blue was her true religion.