Waiting for My Son at Midnight by the Church at the Edge of the Small Woods Where the Kids Get Stoned

by Jennifer Martelli


I suppose I should be worried:
the stained-glass windows of Our Lady Star of the Sea lit so late.

Maybe lights are tucked among the flowers that fill the moat around the church,
the new croci, queen of night tulips, impatiens.

A long time ago, I prayed for sobriety, but what I meant was
don’t let me be lonely. Even when I stopped believing in God,

I prayed my kids would never feel as I do. There are some flowers
that bloom at night, moon flowers, Jessamine. Perhaps the church

is backlit inside: the windows throb like human organs: blue heart,
maroon brain, gold spleen. The little cement Mary in front of her church

was cast bent, offering her white-robed belly to the town.

JENNIFER MARTELLI is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press, 2018), as well as the chapbook, After Bird (Grey Book Press, winner of the open reading, 2016). Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, The Sonora Review, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, Sugar House, Superstition Review, Thrush, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal. Her prose and artwork have been published in Five-2-One, The Baltimore Review, and Green Mountains Review. Jennifer Martelli has been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Prizes and is the recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry. She is a poetry editor for The Mom Egg Review.

Photo: “Datura” by Shandi-lee Cox

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