Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Nicholas MontemaranoOctober 12, 2023

When I told my mother she was going to die,
     she did not weep.

The virus quietly did its work
     but did not weep.

The nurses had seen too much death
     to weep, and the doctor said he was sorry
     but did not weep
     because my mother was not his mother.

My sister and I stayed awake,
     our mother falling into a deep
     and ever-deeper sleep,
     but we did not weep
     until she was gone.

Our father wept when we told him,
     and we held him, but did not weep.

Though it felt wrong to sleep, I slept,
     and when I woke and remembered, I wept.

Whoever called time of death did not weep
     nor did the priest who gave Last Rites
     nor did the man who sold us a coffin
     nor did the man who sold us a plot
     nor did the hands that carved the stone
     nor did the sun nor the moon weep
     because my mother was not their mother.

Heather, who did my mother’s hair
     when my mother was alive
     and one last time when she was gone—
     even though my mother was not her mother,
     she wept.

The day my mother was buried, the wind swept
     our eyes into weeping,
     and the earth wept upon receiving her.

Her body wept too upon her passing,
     as bodies do when left behind.

More: Poetry

The latest from america

The head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication has defended his department's use of expelled Jesuit priest Marko Rupnik’s artwork in its official materials.
Colleen DulleJune 21, 2024
A conversation with Rachel L. Swarns, the author of "The 272: The Families Who were Enslaved and Sold to Build The American Catholic Church"
JesuiticalJune 21, 2024
Spanish Jesuit Luis María Roma, who died in 2019, was recently discovered to have abused hundreds of Indigenous girls while serving as a missionary in rural Bolivia, and to have documented his acts in a diary.
Members of Coro y Orquesta Misional San Xavier perform the opera “San Francisco Xavier” at the Church of San Xavier in the town of San Javier, Bolivia, on April 23. 2024.
The opera ‘San Xavier’ provides a glimpse of how Jesuits evangelized with music—a key dimension of the 1986 film “The Mission.”