Burying Sister Mary, poem by Christian Ward at Spillwords.com

Burying Sister Mary

Burying Sister Mary

written by: Christian Ward


Our knuckles wept pus when I laid
the ruler on her crossed hands; red
marks which healed decades ago
resurfacing like the morning rain.

I placed a folded up Maths test
in the casket – the subject I failed
over and over – remembering how
she was a Jack of all trades but queen

of none; at her feet was a potato.
Everyone imitated her Irish accent
in class and came home with soil
in their shoes. We glared at Felipe

loudly muttering potato potatah
when she was lowered in the plot,
wanting to save ourselves, though
our faith had abandoned us for years.

I kept expecting her to walk in, veil
wet from rain, soil under her fingernails,
smelling of frankincense, hurling
obscure Gaelic insults like rosary beads

as we scrambled to pick them up,
forgetting how far we’d really fallen.