The National Catholic Review

She was from having to learn to read and write
before her parents did and then having to teach them.

She was from her father jumping out of the window
at 3:00 A.M. during Prohibition because the police

were chasing him, and from a mother who squawked
like a chicken when she was upset and who got kicked

out of shoe stores because she complained so much
about the way the leather stretched too tight over the toe.

She was from so many cousins in the house on Sunday
afternoons she lost track of which one was Virge or Paolina

or Marguerite, but she had the one very special cousin,
Tootsie, who was like her sister, but who died from TB

when they were both only 20, and whose death
she never fully forgave, even though she was from rosaries

and novenas and suffering on the cross and offering
it up. She was from getting married on a Thursday morning

in a gray suit, not a wedding dress, because 31 was too old
back then to be a real bride. And she was from a wedding breakfast

at her cousin Nazzi’s bar on Canal Street and from a husband
who farmed acres of strawberries and eggplant and spent

more time planting and pulling weeds, and walking the rows,
singing c’e la luna mezz’o mare than he did in the house talking

with her, and who dropped dead one Easter Monday,
when the children were still too young to have a dead father

and she was too young to have a dead husband.
And she was from having to learn to live alone and hating it

because the house was even noisier now with all that silence
and she could not bear to live in all the clatter.

Susan Bucci Mockler teaches composition and is a poet in the schools in Arlington, Virginia. Her collection of poems, Noisy Souls, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010. This poem was the first runner-up in the Foley Poetry Contest of 2012.

Comments

Kevin Barry | 6/22/2012 - 3:11pm
This is a delightful meditation, the stuff of the real heroes in the flats of the country,
wherever faith exists. No strain for alliteration. allegory or glamor...just the plain truth
so many valiant women weave  sewing the garment of salvation,    KMBarry 

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