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Mother -- poetry by Katie Gardiner

Hark the herald angel sings

I don't know what Gabriel stands for but

St. Anthony helps you find lost things

walking down the church aisle in all white

Maybe he can help me find what i search for

I’ll drop a crisp 20 in the shiny wicker basket if he does

But that’s not how it works

I want to put my fist through my head

And finally make it work right

Yet still I lay

Sitting and waiting in the cushy pews,

I long for the communion bread to be broken

And see the light that so many before me have seen

But as I walk up the aisle,

And bow my head to receive it

My saliva overwhelms the God within the grain,

and the bread breaks in my mouth

and is locked away in the

Tabernacle until next week

There I lay on the altar

With the bread and the wine

Once again defeated

On standalone Sundays I catch glimmers of His existence

But not in those statues of saints,

The thick books of hymns,

Nor the light filtered by stained glass.

Instead He plays hide and seek with me

On walks with tall whistling trees,

Upon glimmering stones washed with ice melt,

Within the fat bumblebee tumbling over my mom’s hydrangeas.

I wish I didn’t have to look so intently

It would be so much better to have a number I could call,

A book I could read,

A place I could go

To know Him as my father

When or wherever I wanted

But everywhere I expect to find God,

I find he is out to lunch

And I feel like a dunce for ever looking to catch Him

At the office

And meadows filled with wildflowers

Are flattened to make room for Gabriel and his Father

who don’t even bother to pay me a visit

even though I insist I want them at my side

To rest their hands on the small of my back and hold me,

Both full of pride

Instead they have tossed me out of their holy home

And I am orphaned

Faithlessly alone

But the beaver lets me watch as it swims in circles still

and the rain falls in pinpricks on the pond

on my head, washing my hair

the sun touches my face on a warm autumn day

as the leaves fall all around me

in spinning circles they drift to the ground

at dawn and at dusk

the blankets of crystal snow

know to glimmer just as the clouds above my head turn


then purple

and as they grow slimmer

the infinite blue of the sky

cradles my eyes in a starry night

my very own starry night

my mountain home

she cups me


in her hands

And suddenly I find I can stand again

With a new strength I now know

I never needed gabriel or his father

Because as long as the sun shines

And trees grow

And snow falls in blankets upon the ground

I will already have a mother

To love me

As her very own.


Katie Gardiner lives in the mountain town Sun Valley, Idaho where she backcountry skis, hikes, and rock climbs. She enjoys reading and her favorite book is The Bell Jar. She hopes to travel the world and continue to create as she grows older.

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