March 5, 2018

Sue O’Dea

THE SORROW’S MINE

What shame in homelessness? The sorrow’s mine.
No break of stride. No turn of eye.
I am a heavy coat. A cardboard sign.

I had a husband and a daughter fine,
but lost them years ago with no goodbye.
What shame in homelessness? The sorrow’s mine.

As winter wails I ride the subway lines.
Invisible to sun, to rain-bowed sky.
I am a heavy coat. A cardboard sign.

Days gone I set firm faith on the divine.
Begged, Jesus don’t you let our baby die.
What shame in homelessness? The sorrow’s mine.

I lit white candles for our girl. A shrine.
But prayers don’t work. The chapel preachers lied.
I am a heavy coat. A cardboard sign.

I taste my God in red communion wine
and watch the tapers gutter in the aisle.
What shame in homelessness? The sorrow’s mine.
I am a heavy coat. A cardboard sign.

from Rattle #58, Winter 2017

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__________

Sue O’Dea: “I write poetry because I like the way that playing with the rhythm and meaning of a tight set of words brings me to an understanding of issues in life. I find that writing in form often distills the poem down to the essential truth of itself, and I enjoy the challenges of creating a poem within the confines of the form.”

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