Dayna Patterson's "Proselytizing by a Marian Shrine in Québec" (2013)

Women walk chemin du rosaire in morning’s
cold white dresses. Wrapped in our cloaks we weather
shoulders cold and withering stares. Take a card, ma
dame
? In her eyes, were

years that gathered, ran down the well-worn grooves of
tears. Est-ce que vous priez à elle? We answer,
Non. She shakes the grief from her voice and welcomes
us to a service.

How can I, a traveler here, a woman
ask these devotees to abandon Mary?
In my mind, a feminine goddess, throneless,
wanders. We enter.

Je vous salue, Marie pleine… echoes through the
dim-lit nave. The arches, her fingers, bend and
hold. The windows pierce in between and make a
diadem. Mère de

Dieu
, a wonder, hunger for softer gods is
spreading. Thousands blink at the endless prayers
spilled on lonely Father gods. Heaven’s Mother,
where have we hidden?

Plant our souls with psalms for the Queen of Heaven.
Teach us dove song; lead us to lust for peacetime.
Wizen mouths. Enlarge our small hearts. Forgive us,
gentle us, Mother.


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