A Pieta

A Pieta

A Pieta 150 150 Monica Boothe

Stare back at me

in the haunting moons of eyes,
the body, stretched and drooping in my lap.

The angel came with a message.
Will you bear the blood in yourself
and bring him to earth?

It happened late one night in the burning branches of an old brick building.
when the only people left were turning off microphones and coiling extension cords,
when the chairs had already been stacked and the hymnals shut in their cabinets.
It was a holy conception.

My sorrow folds itself in stone,
when she blushed at the swelling
of her unmarried waist, they did not understand,
when we claimed it wasn’t about us.
They did not understand.

Will I suffer the sword to pierce my soul?

While I read that into his father’s hands he committed his spirit, we watched our son die,
a sharp blessing, a painful relief, a piercing peace.

Something ancient is forged into smooth crevices and hollowed curves,
this young frame that was flooded with holy shadow,
this womb that cradles heaven inside me.

Something ancient washed me away.
I was flooded with bright shadow. Holiness
lingered like oxygen. If I inhaled I would die.

Or live.

Will we have the strength to bring spices to the tomb?

In the heat of 3 a.m., having kicked off the sheets, laying in my sweat,
to have the breath to say “adore”?

I stare back through marble
in St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City,
in moons that lay still behind eyelids
that do not hide.


Monica Boothe

The daughter of missionaries, Monica Boothe grew up in Nairobi, Kenya. Now, she lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband, three-year-old daughter, and newborn son. She is working on her MFA in fiction at George Mason University and is generally working on three or four different novels at any given time. Monica likes to write about fairytales, motherhood, the Savannah, spiders, anything that reflects the invisible Truth in the visible concrete.

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1 Comment
  • Lesley-Anne Evans June 13, 2015 at 12:02 am

    A most lovely and deeply felt piece of poetry… thank you for birthing this beauty, and welcome to ALTARWORK. Lesley-Anne