Ode to Bon Secours’ Mothershttps://i2.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/hkomar08.jpg?fit=1080%2C1350&ssl=110801350Natalie MarinoNatalie Marinohttps://i2.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Natalie-Marino.png?fit=91%2C96&ssl=1
It is twilight and the children sleep.
Wind blows waves in the grass, and
although it is cold their mothers are
not here to kiss their cheeks and find
their favorite blankets in the closet.
Before they were pinned inside bland
wooden boxes, the children were placed
in hard gray metal cribs, and their young
mothers cried after midnight, counting
days until long after the graveyard filled
its hole, but the steel steeple was built
to stop listening. The priests sang chants
letting them easily ignore, and the nuns
tightly wound their white hats around
their ears to stomp out wailing that
might come between them and Jesus.
The mothers stayed here working
their fingers and hips until the pain
taught position and place, and these
girls were stayed for years, holding
their lockets in the morning hours,
hiding yellowed and ripped photographs
before the nights unfolded. They hid
their babies’ remaining knitted caps in
between the pages of the one book
they were given to read. The mothers
count the clocks, waiting to join their sons.
It is twilight and the children sleep
Natalie Marino is a writer, mother, and physician. She earned her BA in American Literature from UCLA and her MD from The University of Pittsburgh. She has been published by or has poems forthcoming in Detritus Online, Feed Lit Mag, Idle Ink, Leon Literary Magazine, Louisiana Literature, and Mineral Lit Mag. She lives in Thousand Oaks, California with her husband and two daughters.