By Alison Hurwitz
She knew how to be forgiven:
Filled to spilling over with the
holy spirit, she never missed those
all-day Sunday Masses on the Catholic channel,
Mass in person at the church. She was a total pro
Morphed to mother at fourteen to four small sisters and a brother,
she packed her brilliance into attic, became an empty
confessional. When we emerged from service,
went to Sunday dinner at King’s Table Buffet,
she waited till we left to use the bathroom,
the table’s After-Eights into her best blue purse.
That first time when I emerged too soon,
pretended I saw nothing.
She took collection from another table’s
bowl to even out the emptiness, lips pursed.
I thought I had escaped, but then her notice crossed
the room, caught me as I tried to fix
my own reflection in a mirror, cheeks staining glass.
She would not meet my eyes,
just simpered, said I’ll pray for you
to lose those thighs before
you’re old enough to date.
My inheritance. Months after she
had passed, we unearthed her secret cache,
saw the way she had buffeted her heart
with candy in her drawers:
mints and chocolate kisses,
tootsie rolls rolled into girdles.
While her husband called her Sugar,
trapped inside her housewife life,
she minted hunger into currency,
pawned away her pain,
but a mouth.
Alison Hurwitz has been featured in Global Poemic, Words and Whispers Journal, Poetry in the Time of Coronavirus Volumes 1 and 2, Tiferet Journal, and Writing in a Woman’s Voice, and is forthcoming in Amethyst Review, Book of Matches Lit Magazine, and Anti-Heroin Chic. She hosts a free online poetry reading, Well-Versed Words. Alison lives with her husband, sons and rescue dog in North Carolina. See more at alisonhurwitz.com.
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Lovely, deft narrative that takes surprising turns. The effect/affect is so compassionate.