POEM: Our Lady of the Snows by Robert Hass
the unpainted statue of the young girl
on the side altar
made the quality of mercy seem scrupulous and calm.
When my mother was in a hospital drying out,
or drinking at a pace that would put her there soon,
I would slip in the side door,
light an aromatic candle,
and bargain for us both.
Or else I'd stare into the day-moon of that face
and, if I concentrated, fly.
Come down! come down!
she'd call, because I was so high.
Though mostly when I think of myself
at that age, I am standing at my older brother's closet
studying the shirts,
convinced that I could be absolutely transformed
by something I could borrow.
And the days churned by,
... posted to TMP/UL, with permission of Robert Hass