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Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Pieta of Main Street

by Susan Fox
The road is August-cracked,
dry and dead with frisbees.

In the autumn,

the wind wisks through the trees
and buries 
all the broken bottles of pleasing summer
under piles of vicious leaves. 

The people, who follow its crooked path, 
are crippled with need.
They are lonely for the summer,
and grow smaller in December
when the cold reduces all things to a sharp black silhouette:

An old lame woman
struggles home from the market
in a bright cold;
Waving a can of tuna, she asks,
"Have you any change?"
but the embarrassed crowd
ignores her;
the bus rumbles by mournfully,
spraying her with snow.


the greasy blond
becomes friendly in the post office;
he is rejected by a smart brunette,
who does not see his face fall
or become fragile in the moonlight.

A child at the hardware store has two squares

cut around both ears;
his mother watches anxiously.
"Lord, here are two swords," we cried,
but there is his mother's agony.
The pieta has been carved -- everywhere.

We have seen the yearning 

of five small children
for their parents' attention.
It is not
that it is not given, 
but that the giving is divided
among five. 

In the supermarket,
the old crones whisper,
"Do you remember the Swede,
the big blond Swede,
who froze last winter 
and died 
in a dirty hotel on Main Street?"

This is our neighborhood -- 
rough and unshaved,
rude and soft-spoken,
like a man down on his luck:
a little rocky in the moonlight.

My cat is the real Christian here;
she goes about 
spreading love
by rolling in everyone's yard.

There go the children -- 

black and white -- 
down the street 
with broken sticks
and old wagons racing!

There goes a gentleman Riley,

riding the rails --
fat stomach and a smart cigar --
waving from the open freight car.

The world's greatest disease

is no love,
quoth Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

She should know

the loneliness,
a dead Christ in His mother's arms.

Other poems by Susan Fox (Some appear at the end of a Post)
She Lost An Earring!
Seven Meditations on Exile at the end of the post
St. Anthony's Bread at the end of the post