Thursday, July 21, 2016
Mary Howe Has Something to Say! Celebrating St. Mary Magdalene
Remember the woman in the blue burka forced to kneel
In the stadium – then shot in the head? That was me.
And I was the woman who secretly filmed it.
I was hung as a witch by the people in my own town
I was sent to the asylum at 16.
I’m bored at the business meeting,
impatient with the Do Not Walk sign.
I was walking with my younger sister looking for firewood
when we saw the group of men approaching.
I’m the woman so in love with my husband
sometimes I wait in the kitchen chair and stare at the door,
I’m parked in my wheelchair with the others in the hallway
in the home -- three hours till lunch, I don’t remember who it is
who leans down to kiss me.
I’ve forgotten my keys, dropped the dish, fallen down
the icy stoop.
I’m sitting on the bench with my bags , waiting for the bus.
I’m the woman in the black suit and heels hailing a taxi.
I’m in prayer, in meditation, I’ve shaved my head, I wear robes
now instead of dresses.
When I enter the classroom, all the children call out my name at once.
I’m talking on my cell phone while driving.
I’m walking the goats out to the far field, gazing at the mountain
I’ve looked at every day of my life
I never had children,
I bore nine living children and two dead ones
I adopted a girl in my late middle age
I’m cooking rice and beans
lighting the candles on the birthday cake
standing quietly by the window
still hungry for I don’t know what .
Often I’m lonely.
Sometimes a joy pours through me so immense
I want to see through the red bricks of the building across the street,
into the something else that almost gleams through the day.
By Marie Howe
Forthcoming in Magdalene, WW Norton 2017