Every morning I come to this little room to pray.
My mother’s saggy blue recliner
stands on its last legs and embraces me.
Two pictures speak of her —
Native American mother and child
mother chimp and baby, dew droplets on their fur.
My grandmother’s lamp preens in the window
its dangling crystals casting rainbows
in ways she, a difficult woman, was unable to do.
A stone turtle basks in the sun on the sill,
gift from the nephew who called me Aunt Turtle.
On one wall is the print my husband and I bought
at the Mystic Art Fair four years into marriage —
little boy sketched in only black and white,
red-orange butterfly sitting on his sleeve the only color.
On another, the print we bought in Alaska
thirty-five years into marriage,
blues, gold – snowy mountain, full moon.
The couch underneath sports two jewel-toned pillows,
embroidered folk art from South Africa
where we met Marshall, whose head is scarred
from the bullet that grazed him
during the Soweto Youth Uprising.
Hanging near the door is a Mexican Madonna
from my mother’s second husband,
the one who made her happy.
And under it my mother-in-law’s little desk
where she paid bills, faithfully making ends meet.
On the table is a folding icon, gift from a student,
Jesus holding a book on one side,
Mary holding an infant Jesus on the other.
Every morning when I come to this little room to pray,
I, too, am held.
May 30, 2020