When I was 9 I wore a veil
tender-stiff and bright white, smiled
through filmy lace and thread, candle in hand
shuffled in a line of a thousand white-veiled girls
down the aisle
of a cool, moss-green chapel

the tropical heat outside muted out
I did the reading once: 1 Corinthians

I remember the summer at my brother’s house
in West Virginia
Luke’s cancer, he was only a baby
passed out in his crib lying on his sweat and vomit
the comforting maxims of neighbours, the clichés
the way I just believed

Somewhere in a shift among continents
I’m afraid I lost
the little girl, the veil
the coolness of the chapel,
and the little stone cove where Mary’s figure hid
carved serene

but still, Luke is 11 now



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