by Susan Swann
If I cry, I declare “I’ve lost my faith.
I am without hope, which means I am without
the one who is hope.”
So how can I cry,
when my only child is alone
in a hospital bed,
his body betraying him?
How can I cry?
How can I not?
You who measure out suffering like medicine –
hasn’t he suffered enough?
I can – I do – accept my own suffering,
and try to learn,
to midwife your purposes
out of the pain.
But as a mother
I say enough.
How did your mother bear it?
Did she speak those words, too? –
lost to a history shaped to tell the story that needed telling?
How did the hands
tasked with cradling your infant self
not reach out as he passed by
on the Via Dolorosa
to hold him back,
to cheat the nails and the spear,
to defy anyone who would see dead
the child as much hers as yours?
Mary, full of grace,
Our Lady of Ferguson,
virgin or not,
Theotokos, God-Bearer, or unwed mother,
you who gave your son to the God you knew
and freed him to show us the way to the God we didn’t,
please walk with me.
Let us be two mothers together.
Teach me to trust again.
Sit with me in the darkness,
and when I’m ready,
come with me into the light.
“Mothers in Haiti” photo and permission by Dick Anderson
icon of “Our Lady of Ferguson” permission to use given by Reverend Bozzuti-Jones
Photo of “Carol and Amira” permission to use given by Carol Buchanan
“Let us be Mothers Together” drawing and permission by Wendy Smith