A Crowning in May

Jennifer Guyor-Jowett

I am a child,
one bead of a decade,
chosen for my knowledge
of memorized prayers
and early reading ability
of words and their sounds,
the shapes they make
falling easily from my mouth
yet untested before crowds.

I stand small,
surrounded by long-limbed children
tree trunk torsoed,
older by years
(seven if we’re to count).

Light filters through,
a time lapse of
Virgin Mary Blue,
wings of angel gold
slanting across this prayer pilgrimage,
snapshots
projected on synapse screens,
the click, click, click

of the spent film roll slapping
against the spool,
each click
a flicker of memory.

I hold in place,
await my turn,
the voices before me
exact,
assured.

I know my Hail Mary
I am full of Grace
But the Lord is not with me
The words jumble
Blessed art thou
All eyes on me
Who art in Heaven
A prayer mix
Unhallowed be thy name.

My crowning crucified
in blood red words
and mortification nails,
the sour vinegar remains on my tongue
to this day.

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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems by Jennifer Guyor-Jowett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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