Mother didn’t say “Thank you”
but “Bless you.”
She hadn’t even said that when someone sneezed,
thinking it silly.
Her whole lexicon had changed.
God was no longer God
but Heavenly Father.
The Pope was just a leader,
but the Prophet was God’s mouthpiece,
& the word prophetess did not exist.
My mother’s life had been lived in reverse–
she had spent it atoning for David’s sin,
it was time for her ministry.
Mother & I prayed together,
Caitlin & I laughed together,
but David & I mourned together.
It was the saddest of the 3
that seemed to bring people together,
even if it didn’t keep them together.
Our Christmas tree was like something out of a magazine,
the Suttons’, like something out of an awkward family photo,
& yet, there was something about it that warmed me,
even as ours left me cold.
For it was because of me he stayed,
& because of her, he would go.
To wish for him as mine
seemed a form of matricide.