Rule of St. Benedict

by Amy Cannon


friend       what have you come for?

are you hastening home?       then keep this little rule


day by day       remind yourself       that you are going to die

abandon your will       lay down what you have in hand       leave it unfinished


be silent       and enclose yourself        

embrace suffering       content yourself with lowliness


prayers should be short and pure       make haste to help

eradicate the ego       become a vessel of perception


do not retain anything as your own

be ready to rise       without delay


set aside what you have       with utmost speed

nothing is to be preferred


from this day       you are no longer free

even your body is not your own


this is the law under which you serve

if you can keep it       come in




Amy Katherine Cannon is a writer and writing teacher living in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from UC Irvine, where she was the recipient of the Gerard Creative Writing Endowment. She is the author of the mini-chapbook ‘to make a desert’ (Platypus Press, 2016). Her work can be found in BOAAT, BODY, Juked, and LIT, among other places. She is Managing Editor of Palaver Arts Magazine, a student publication.