Mother Mary

It was 1943…
a baby girl was in need
of daddy’s first kiss,
though he was not home.

He left the best of himself
on a nameless,
South Pacific shore,
as confirmed by the stoic chaplain
from the U.S. Marine Corps.

…and Mary held her Bible
between her folded hands.

Her nephew James,
who she called Baby Jim,
left his beautiful smile
on a trail cleared
by Ho Chi Minh.

That was 1968,
and the good chaplain was late
in confirming what Mary read,
buried on the back page.

…Mary held the Good Book
between her folded hands.

Why is it so hard
to run away from this pain?

Why is it so hard
to not repeat the same mistakes?

Folded like a funeral flower
between the Good Book’s pages,
the ache will flatten,
but forever remain.

Lily lost Mother Mary in 1985,
she held Mom’s hand
and lingered, close,
elbows on the bedside.

To the listening-dead,
she whispered,

“I promise not to make the same mistakes.”

…then Lily held mother’s Bible,
in her folded hands.

© CG Tenpenny, 2022.

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