The National Catholic Review

After my late aunt got her third new hip,
The third in an eventual parade of seven,
I call to razz her about having more hips
Now than she had been originally issued,
& she laughed but then characteristically
Sailed off in a disquisition about prayer
And how it did and didn’t work hipwise,
And how the doctors had used the bones
Of a deceased woman in her hip surgery,
And how she conversed with the Mother
About this among various other subjects,
And the Mother, noted my cheerful aunt,
Was a woman of endless gentle patience,
For I pepper the poor soul with moaning
And complaints all the blessed day long,
Said my cheerful aunt, and She does not
Tell me to stuff it, or hasn’t yet, anyway.
All day long I rattle and prattle and chat
And She listens and then finally I’ll stop
Talking at which point I finally hear Her.
I think maybe that’s the way She speaks
To everyone but everyone doesn’t listen
All that well, that’s the greatest problem
With men and women, the first example
In this particular crucial regard being me,
You know what I mean? Ah, yes, you do.

Brian Doyle is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland in Oregon. He is also the author of eight books of essays, nonfiction and “proems,” including Epiphanies and Elegies (Sheed & Ward, 2

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