Eternal Widow

Matilda Morrison

When hot hateful hands pull

Necks into trees, I am the farmer to harvest

That strange fruit, to hold those broken

Necks to my tired lips and say “I’m sorry,

I’m sorry,” words hollow like ripe

Apples, stroking their hair until glory takes them

 

And when those hateful hands become wrinkled and translucent and they reach

For me with tears in their cataracts, sobs catching

On the respirators tethered to their throats I reach right

Back, and rock them like mercy, my hands

 

Are always soaked with tears, but feverish

Nurslings can’t feel them when I place my cold, salty

Fingers on their burning foreheads and

Rest

 

I feel them, all, the gangsters being pushed, straight

Into my waiting arms, running ‘til

They find me, not knowing what they were looking

For until I put my mouth to their ears and tell them they’re home, rocking them like

Mothers did, or didn’t

 

And the soldiers full of holes who become whole

When I hold them wholly, holy, holy, Hallelujah and

The reverends who recognize

Me, their dark companion. For them

I wear my halo, and bring a harp along, one last

Psalm, no choir needed

 

Be still, troubled hearts, and end the beatings, bruised

Women, I know you screamed in alleys, and tore, and fought in

Fields and forests, I heard you, I hear you, and I promise I

Will wash your pain off like baptism