How I Say God

Photo by Anze

When she died, my mother left me with joy,
the angel card I pulled as we stood behind
the Unitarian Church in a circle around her ashes.
My son, already deep into his demons,
was not there. Today he sits in my kitchen,
waiting for a van to take him to his nineteenth
rehab after getting out of his forty-third
detox. His eyes are sunken, no light,
hands shaking. I ask if he’d like to bring
a photo of his daughter, he says no thank you.
Then I pull joy. Each time he says he’s tired
or sorry or angry or afraid, I touch the word
as if it were a rosary bead or worry stone:
Joy. Mother. Joy. Make him well. Joy. Joy.

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