Stained Cardinal

Updated: Jan 7

She signs love and joy,

that she “can’t read this here,”

and walks away.

The tulips that have drowned,

she holds on to the fragility of spring,

the unanswered questions that echo in the fall.

I cut my lip

and I can’t speak.

She mends me

with a warm cloth

and a honey cough drop.

“To be young,” she says. And laughs.

“You know I used to write poetry,” and guides me

to another room.

It is narrow and brown,

barren of pottery and light. “I can

show you.”

It is Mary and the blessings of me,

cornered in scripture where nothing is clear.

I appear just another movement

for her to claim no longer


To dry her out of the sunken lily pads

“with love,” she turns. A cardinal pauses

to meet her stained glass

and to distort her breath.

“I cannot handle this,” she writes.

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