St. Perpetua/St. Felicity

The pain wasn’t in dying

but in belief in you, that you required of me

Advertisement

my motherhood. Harder than giving my son away

was asking for the strength to leave him,

knowing I would become that strong,

that, like any mother, I would submit

to being known by the ones whose names

my own knelt into. My God,

I left my life behind me. And still,

I wasn’t yours, exactly. I wanted more of myself

for you. When the wolves were set loose,

I could only ask for teeth.

I wanted show. I loved the whips,

their urgent artistry, the calligraphy of praises

drawn across the canvas of my back.

And as the boy soldier’s hand set

to trembling, I couldn’t help but take the blade myself,

show him where its edge would leave me

holy. Father, forgive me my greed.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement
More: Poetry

The latest from america

Bishop Nelson J. Perez becomes the third Hispanic archbishop in the United States and the first to serve in this archdiocese.
Gerard O’ConnellJanuary 23, 2020
The process of leaving the church is not so different from the process of joining it.
Our history remains hazardous, but it does not stand apart from God in Christ.
Terrance KleinJanuary 22, 2020
This week on “Inside the Vatican,” the hosts look at the appointment of Francesca di Giovanni to a top role in the Vatican's Secretariat of State.
Colleen DulleJanuary 22, 2020