This Is

What the priest said
To my mother
After her eighth pregnancy
Ended in a hard loss
And the doctor’s admonition
Another might end her—
The priest said contraception
Was a whore’s trick
Forbidden to good catholic
Mothers of seven
And whorish ways would never win
Her place in heaven

Years later
When she told me
I could feel her anger simmer
Could taste the bitter acid
In her words
And wondered why
She stood for such a sour
And lying benediction
And did not turn at once
Away forever
From the face of such
A small god

Mary C. McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse, far from the literary and writing communities. A Pushcart nominee, her work has been published in both print and online journals, including Earth’s Daughters, Third Wednesday, the Edge, The Camel Saloon and Gnarled Oak.



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