Hail, Mary

Buon giorno, buen dia Maria
Full of grace and wisdom and power
The Lord may be with thee, and you
May be Blessed among women but

What about the children? Not the one
In the womb that has been consecrated
As the son of God, but God, your god,
My god has many sons, daughters all

Around the world. They are not all blessed
Some are cursed and lost and under a pile
Of rubble in Ukraine, Yemen, Israel, Palestine, Gaza;
Others live in the darkness of the blind, are

Plagued by hallucinations, cursed with spasms
Of a mind that plays tricks on them all day, all
Night. Imagine a predator behind you, in your
Shadow, silent, stealthy, looking over your shoulder

Or under your bed. You cannot see but you know
They are there and they mean you harm for no
Other reason than you are where you find yourself
Not for an act you perpetrated on someone else,

Just for being who you are. The luck of the draw?
And Holy Mary, Mother of God, do you pray for
The innocent as well as the sinners? The pilots,
The soldiers firing artillery rockets, are they too

Prayed for? Rockets with ranges of 30-50 miles, fired
In barrages for the most effect, the most damage.
Are they too in your prayers to god and which god
Might that be? What does that God look like, what

Does that god think, plan, why does that god never
intervene? Humans shooting hate and rockets blindly
into Ashkelon, Beersheba, under the eyes of Israeli 
drones … range is crucial for rockets, for prayers too.

Pray for us sinners and for the innocent, for my own son
Living in a world plagued with demons he cannot see
or touch or hear but knows they are there, so music
and words come to him as if a shaft of light in day

Or night, raises his voice above the din in his brain, to
Feel the lift above the iron dome of paranoia, the upsurge
Of spirits that haunt, and fly, and invade his small cot in an
Institution with cinder block walls, netted windows he can’t

See but knows they are there: the limitations, the lack
Of liberty, the outside in; the other sons and daughters
in Gaza, or Yemen or Ukraine are bombarded with a panoply
of air power used in a steadily escalating series of attacks.

What I wish for my own son is comfort, warmth, knowing
There is a meal, a roof over his head, a dog at his feet, a
Sun he can feel but not see… Mother of God, what do you
Wish for your sons, your daughters now and at the hour

Of their deaths? When will your god hear your pleas or
Have the mothers and daughters been silenced to the
Tunnels, the basements, the streets, have they lost their
Voices, their powers to heal, now and at the hour of now?

From New Verse News. Copyright © 2023 by Maria Lisella. Reprinted with the permission of the poet.