A photocopy of my mother’s heart,
neatly folded, falls from the leaf end
of Yeats’ Collected.
Her cardiologist has drawn squiggles
and blobs to mark the arteries
blocked: diffuse 80%, 70% plaque,
more squiggles for the bypasses
the heart has patiently grown
to feed its urgent muscle.
Eggshells. Nitroglycerine.
The muffled tick
of a ship’s clock on the mantle.
Each of us will have a turn
at this watch, with or without
warning. Meanwhile,
I’m folding away neat piles:
the scolding that most stung,
butterscotch icing licked from the bowl,
a hairbrush (knick-knack, plate of pasta)
thrown in anger—the Silence after.
The trunk will be scented: gardenia,
garlic, Chanel #5. Meanwhile,
I collect figs from the garden, whisper
a decade of the Rosary, a Psalm—
the lake at dawn
a red-winged blackbird
rustles the reeds.

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


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

This week’s top U.S.-Latino Catholic news
J.D. Long-GarcíaMarch 16, 2018
U.S. President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to Stephen Hawking during a ceremony at the White House in Washington Aug. 12, 2009 (CNS photo/Paul Haring).
There have been great physicists and mathematicians who were also great philosophers. Hawking, unfortunately, was not one of them.
Stephen M. BarrMarch 16, 2018
Pope Francis enters the main gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Oswiecim, Poland, July 29, 2016 (CNS photo/Alessia Giuliani, pool).
Poland’s Catholic primate called anti-Semitism “a moral evil and a sin.”
Catholic News ServiceMarch 16, 2018
It’s taken over a year for us to get our boss, Matt Malone, S.J. on Jesuitical—and we promise it was worth the wait.
Eloise BlondiauMarch 16, 2018