“Stations”

Published on redbirdchapbooks.org.

***

Inside the broken-necked chapel, kneeling in the debris of other people’s faith, she held up a stained glass fragment outlining Mary’s perfect suffering.

“I could be like this for you,” she said. “I could mourn you so hard it would bring you back.”

I saw her then, in blue, lips bit ragged and bleeding, eyes luminous with the power of a loss unaccepted. A sunrise or bomb blast would turn the world into her halo.

But there, in the church, she brushed dust from her cheek with a pilled sweater sleeve, then held the colored glass flat between her palms. It disappeared like a street magician’s trick.

She was supposed to wink. I was supposed to clap. But I took her empty hands in my own and to anyone looking through the rafters’ gaps, it would seem like we were praying.

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