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Hail Mary

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I stare at my cold toes peeping out from under the blanket

And wish they were covered.

I feel like a cold toe, my whole self exposed by life.

Now I hear you holding your breath as you ponder things to large

To say out loud.

I can see your fair-skinned face shimmering incandescent

In the dark room.

Your round cheeks swell like a full moon.

"Hail Mary, full of grace,

The Lord is with thee…"

I finger the little wooden beads and wait to hear you

Breathe deeper in sleep.

I only pray like this when I’m scared, you should know.

I pray before science exams, and for people who are sick,

And for victims of something documented on the news.

I pray before airplane takeoffs and landings,

In hospitals.

I’m not sure whether I believe that it’s working

But I figure I’d better try to be on God’s good side

On the off-chance that He’s listening.

"Blessed art thou amongst women,

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

This part reminds me of Christmas,

The best holiday, or a cause for depression.

I love Christmas Eve most.

The wrapping frenzy and visiting friends

Anticipation heady in the air like too much cinnamon eggnog before bed.

I love the mass at night

With heavy warm coats and snowflakes wet in my hair,

The candlelight illuminating faces,

Crisp air nipping noses,

Forest green holly and rich red bows

Adorning every pew.

I love the choir’s voices, commanding fall on your knees!

and the silence as we pray

Oh, Love! For a moment the Night Divine is still

And I cannot hear myself missing you.

"Holy Mary, Mother of God,

Pray for us sinners, now,

And at the hour of our deaths."

I listen to the muffled voices of people through the TV downstairs,

laughing or crying.

Glee and despair sound so similar from a floor above.

The fuzzy static prickles my ears

Blasting strange noises across satellite waves so late at night.

I can imagine these faces under bright light,

Glowing through our old black tube.

There’s a click from the remote, and your breath starts to settle

Into a pattern. Hanging the beads on my bedpost,

I pull the covers over my toes and whisper to you,

“Amen.”



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