The National Catholic Review
Kathleen O'Toole

She who is known by myth and association
as sinful, penitent, voluptuous perhaps...
but faithful to the last and then beyond.

A disciple for sure, confused often with Mary,
sister of Lazarus, or the woman caught
in adultery, or she who angered the men

by anointing Jesus with expensive oils.
She was the one from whom he cast out seven
demons—she’s named in that account.

Strip all else away and we know only
that she was grateful, that she found her way
to the cross, and that she returned

to the tomb, to the garden nearby, and there,
weeping at her loss, was recognized,
became known in the tender invocation

of her name. Mary: breathed by one
whom she mistook for the gardener, he
who in an instant brought her back to herself—

gave her in two syllables a life beloved,
gave me the only sure thing I’ll believe
of heaven, that if it be, it will consist

in this: the one unmistakable
rendering of your name.

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