Ave Maria


MY DEATH is on the page, is in the book,
is on the shelf, is in the house, a tale –
ribbon marked in red by father’s calloused hands
freshly from the plow, a virgin field,
in the hour when enough was never quite.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

MY LIFE is wrapped in rags and straw
in the grain in the mud in an old pine box;
the bray of beasts, a mournful tune whose price
has now come due, and fearfully is whispered
as a mother’s grieving voice within
an upper room now locked and bare illuminated;
where death's sore song is gravely now intoned.

Hail Mary, full of grace…the LORD is with thee…

MY HOPE is in the spear of light, the
thunder-roar, the whispering that,
over and again, softly in an open mouth, says,
“be not afraid,” the sword-pierced
heart that trembles, quickened as a deer
that flees the arrows; the sweet and tender
sorrow of our mad and ranting prophets
who foresaw another glory altogether.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

MY NAME is in the hammered stone,
the broken bread, the wounded flesh,
the jug of wine poured out upon the ground;
oblation for the saints who hover waiting
while bells recall a low-born handmaid, weeping,
begging in the gutter for a crust of bread to eat.

Hail Mary, full of grace…the LORD is with the. Blessed art thou…

MY SUFFERING is in the bread, the fragrant oil,
the salt that sows upon this toiling ground;
a mouth parting gently to receive
a hungry kiss with worthless silver bought; while
there beneath a concrete bridge she sits and weaves
a crown for a forgotten wedding day.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

MY GLORY wears a mantle of blood-roses
twined with thorns, or yet a shroud
of linen finely woven and perfumed;
whose barbs so prick the thumb, or threads
do bind the root of this tongue sweetly.
Be it done. To me. According to your word.

Hail Mary, full of grace…the LORD is with thee. Blessed art thou among women…

MY PEACE is freedom bought, our price
the patient gaze, an old man’s eyes that
loving rest on beauty’s perfect face, 
the darkening words of prophets in
a mother’s ear depart; 
whose sleep will these long valleys fill, 
and these low mountains blanket
with soft flowers, tender blooming.

Hail Mary, full of grace…

MY LOVE is in between these words, is
in the pause, the silence of an empty
house, a story — left behind for those
who in these haunted waters wade. 
Behold, you pleasingly beloved. 
The skies will soon burst open.

Hail Mary, full of grace…blessed is the fruit of thy womb.