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Mary Comes Down
by American Poet Jeannine M Pitas
It is said
she was assumed into heaven.
Deathless, she stood on the moon,
was crowned with twelve stars.
But today in Rome I see her
begging outside the stone churches
that hold her statue.
In Jordan she sleeps in a refugee camp,
invites neighbors for tea,
shoots a film of her kids' pick-up soccer games -
(she's heard that in the West
they like this sort of thing).
In the San Fernando valley
she bends to harvest grapes,
she cuts garlic and gets half
the wages she was promised.
In Mexico she sells lace
and tells anyone who will listen
that four of her sons
have disappeared from Veracruz.
In Iowa, she sweeps the floor at Walmart
after the other workers have left.
Before this, she worked in a slaughterhouse.
Her task: to kill the male chicks.
She who once deflected
the Plague's sharpest arrows
now tends to those dying of AIDS
in a Kenyan village.
Sometimes she makes the news
when her raft capsizes on the Mediterranean,
but it goes unnoticed
when she is sold into slavery,
dies in childbirth,
walks for a day to fetch water,
and finds the well dry.
Again and again
her son offers to raise her,
adorn her in royal blue,
a final glorious mystery.
Again and again
she shakes her head,
gives the diadem back,
casts off her mantel
to cover a child.
SOURCE: Thank You For Dreaming, poetry by Jeannine M Pitas,
published by Lummox Press, California, USA, 2018.
JEANNINE M PITAS is a poet,
writer, teacher, and Spanish-
English literary translator.
Native of Buffalo, New York,
she currently lives in Dubuque,
Iowa, where she is an Assistant
Professor of English and
Spanish at the University of
Dubuque. She holds a PhD in
Comparative Literature from
the Univerity of Toronto,
Her publications include:
~ Chapbook, A Place to Go
~ Chapbook, Our Lady of the
Snow Angels (2012);
~ I Remember Nightfall (2017),
translation of a collection of
four books by acclaimed
Uruguayan poet Marosa di
~ Poetry collection, Thank You
For Dreaming (2018); and
~ full-length poetry collection,
As Seen and Unseen,
forthcoming from Quattro Books
These poems are my grateful response to those who
dream. To the many women who, despite terrible
circumstances, have refused to be silenced. To all those
people who acknowledge the truth that political borders
are nothing but imaginary lines drawn on a map. To
those who feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and
comfort the afflicted. Thank you so much. Now, more
than ever, this world is needful of your compassion and
JEANNINE M PITAS, THANK YOU FOR DREAMING, LUMMOX PRESS, 2018.
Poetry is the language of subversion. It is a linguistic
mode where rules are broken and foundations are
shaken, where reality twists and changes its shape,
where metaphors startle and confound us… In an age
where the discourses of utility and technology seek to
offer a single, authoritative explanation of the world,
poetry slyly suggests that reality is much more
complicated than it seems. It is this second form of
resistance – the subtle, beautifully subversive form –
that is of most interest to me. It is a resistance that
challenges not only the power of dictators of nations, but
the dictatorial aspect of thought itself – the dogmatism
that constantly offers a false refuge for our minds, the
conviction that seeks to whitewash all stains of
JEANNINE M PITAS, INTRODUCTION, AGAINST ULRO: ON THE CREATION
OF POETIC SPACE IN THE WORK OF DELMIRA AGUSTINI, ALEJANDRA
PIZARNIK AND MAROSA DI GIORGIO, DOCTORAL THESIS, UNIVERSITY
OF TORONTO, 2014.
JEANNINE M PITAS
LUMMOX PRESS / USA