A Poem

November’s golden leaves evoke memories of families gathered around tables overflowing with traditional foods, stories long forgotten, and laughter echoing across the years. Here’s a poem I wrote, one of remembering a moment long ago that has never faded from my mind.

Madonna and Child: Oil on Wood Panel by Mary Lynn Bracht

I forgot until she did it

My mother reached up and stroked the Virgin’s face

Is this real, she asked, turning to look at me over her shoulder

My eyes couldn’t meet hers, instead

I stared at her fingertips, still pressed against the painting

And wondered what it felt like to touch history

Four hundred years ago in the jungles of Central America

Madonna and child gazed down at the pagan natives

With their Catholic eyes gilded in gold

I wanted to ask her if the holy family felt warm or cold

Greasy or dry, what did touching them make my mother feel?

But then I wondered what she meant by Is this real?

Did she mean the painting

Or the Virgin’s story?

And then I remembered

I had the same urge when I was young, to touch

What was forbidden, at sixteen

My own fingertips grazed the toes

Of Zeus, standing in silence in the Louvre

The cold marble was smooth

An electric spark shocked through my skin

When a boy caught me, and grinned

So when I finally met my mother’s eyes, I did the same

She had crossed centuries with one forbidden touch

©Mary Lynn Bracht

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