By Timothy Dailey-Valdés - Austin, Texas, USA - 8 December 2012


Hushed coughs echo up and
down the nave as the rosary beads
in her hands clack against each other.
The aves and paternosters mingle
on her breath in carefully enunciated
whispers, wrapped in the Texan drawl
she thought she had gotten rid of years ago.


Her eyes are downcast and she tries not
to use them to trace the
weary cobbles of the floor.
From the street, just beyond the vestibule,
she hears a mob (against this, and for that)
firing accusations at the Capitol, and,
closer still, the rattle of a pickup truck.

Shoes clip-clop, Secretariat-like,
from the deacon hurriedly walking to
place the missalettes on the rickety
card table by the doors.
A woman in the otherwise empty
first pew clears her throat.
A drop of wax lands on stone, unnoticed.

Our Mother looks on from her
Immaculate window, all clad in
brilliant blue, her radiance
shining like a hundred million
supernovae. She placidly assures
the girl that, despite the stain,
redemption awaits, just beyond
that thin wooden lattice.