Bound by Blood
Ave Maria, Ave, Ave, pray for us, Mary, ohhh pray.
She pleads to painted porcelain, fat fingers embracing
each other. Her unmarried sons voice fades. Mom,
were having a baby. Thirty Hail Marys: futile
like the day her sister called, giddy almost to tears
with news: Ellen, Im getting remarried. She cried
that day, too, photocopying pages from Principles
of Canonical Law, dictating Jesus insistence that she
boycott her only sister smiling in the ivory gown nearly
destroyed by a careless daughter. Seven years later,
the only reminder of her nieces inattention: shadows
in a photograph; but her sons consequence lies
pillowed in her arms. Ave Maria, pray for us
sinners now and in the hour of our death.