Letter to an Apparition

By Charlene Logan Burnett - Davis, California, USA - 3 December 2016


For Meghan, 1981


Pregnant, unmoored, alone,
I sent petitions, slips of parchment,
disintegrating in a blue wash as I wrote.
I fanned the ink, sealed sins,
offspring of sins, inside nested envelopes
to place before the statue of Our Lady of the Roses
at her Bayside apparition site. 


What echo did I hear?  Devotion
to Mary -- grandmothers, mother, aunts --
the murmur of rosary beads,
the drip of holy water,
the chant of Carmelite nuns concealed behind a woven screen?


Was it ritual or faith -- or a longing
for fulfillment of a whispered promise,
my petition letters answered on a vigil night
as moon-breasted doves stirred in the trees,
bouquets of red roses opened,
and old women wept in ecstasy
as they fell to their knees?