How Great Thou Art

by Michelle Quick

By the time
you were willing
to talk about the hurt
she was forgetting.
Or never remembered,
gin brain burying it
in the depths of the sea.

That’s where you
keep your chaos
so your heart can breathe,
tongue console, hands heal
scraped knees, hang up lights,
cut off unwanted crusts
and sneak them to the dog.

Our last Mother’s Day
the Alzheimer’s got loud.
Management suggested we leave.
This is the Midwest, you yelled
to a restaurant full of white linen stares.
Don't you people like Jesus?
Let her sing her goddamn hymn.

As the organ swelled
and she started up again
(hitting all the high notes)
you ordered the gooseberry pie
and I never loved you more I
have never loved


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