You know it was funny because he seemed so well the night before
I stayed over to meet a student before class
—sitting at the picnic table...already so hot so early.
I must have been looking for a pen or something
when I thought of the car keys and, rummaging through my bag,
couldn’t find them and was up and walking across the grass when
I heard myself say, I feel as if I’m going to lose something today,
—and then I knew, and ran the rest of the way.
About this Poem
"This poem is from a series written in Mary Magdalene's voice. When my brother was dying from complications from the AIDS virus in his apartment in Rochester New York, I learned that other young men had come home to die, some of them in their old childhood bedrooms on the suburban streets they had left for big cities. Hardly anyone in those suburbs knew what was occurring in their midst. Later that year I heard a banging hammer—someone banging nails two or three yards away from my own apartment in Cambridge, and I thought of those young men dying at home, and of the crucifixion—how someone hearing the banging hammer might not be aware of the true nature of what was being done."
Marie Howe was born in 1950 in Rochester, New York. She worked as a newspaper reporter and teacher before receiving her MFA from Columbia University in 1983. She currently serves as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Date Published: 2013-02-22
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/magdalene