Mama's Beads
by Candace Turner

Click, click, click
Beads slide through
Arthritic fingers
Lips mutter Hail Mary, full of grace

Glass rosaries sleep under her pillow
Wooden ones jingle in her pocket
Ivory rest on her lap

Beads blessed by Priests
Who profess to have a direct line
To God and eternal salvation

What are you praying for, Mom?

You, the world, my family.
For heaven to take me soon. I'm ready.
I've been ready for years now, ever since
your father…

How many prayers can one person recite
Without receiving an answer?
How does she sustain belief
In God, in heaven, in an afterlife where
A husband, sisters and brothers wait to
Celebrate her arrival?

Click, click, click

Faith, she says
You must have faith, but
I fear my prayers are wasted on you

Amen. Mom, Amen


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