The Blessed Mother Complains to the Lord Her God on the Abundance of Brokenness She Receives

By Mary Karr b. 1955 Mary Karr
Today I heard a rich and hungry boy verbatim quote
all last night’s infomercials — an anorectic son
who bought with Daddy’s Amex black card
the Bowflex machine and Abdomenizer,
plus a steak knife that doth slice
the inner skin of   his starving arms.
Poor broken child of   Eve myself,
to me, the flightless fly,
the listing, blistered, scalded.
I am the rod to their lightning.
Mine is the earhole their stories pierce.
At my altar the blouse is torn open
and the buttons sailed across
the incensed air space of the nave,
that I may witness the mastectomy scars
crisscrossed like barbed wire, like bandoliers.
To me, the mother carries the ash contents
of   the long-ago incinerated girl.
She begs me for comfort since my own son
was worse tortured. Justice,
they wail for — mercy?
Each prostrate body I hold my arms out for
is a cross my son is nailed to.

NOTES: Read the Q&A with Mary Karr about this poem

Source: Poetry (December 2012).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2012
 Mary  Karr


Poet and memoirist Mary Karr was born in 1955 and raised in Texas. The author of several critically acclaimed books of poetry, including Abacus (1987; reprinted 2007), The Devil’s Tour (1993), Viper Rum (2001), and Sinners Welcome (2006) she is also the author of a trilogy of memoirs: The Liar’s Club (1995), Cherry (2001), and Lit (2009). Karr’s poetry and prose frequently include autobiographical elements, including her . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Religion, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Persona

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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