“Mothers came to the Annunziata church to push their newborns into a
dark slot within a wooden turntable in a convent wall…. [resorting] to
like ‘the wheel’ to abandon infants they were too poor or ashamed to keep.” —Frances D’Emilio, October 30, 2005
Muscular, blood-dark hollow of a bell:
your cry-opened mouth. I touch
you to the altar, stomach softened by your first departure.
My fingernails scratch Annunziata’s wheel.
Nuns will lift you from this shallow well,
baptize you to Christ.
Sunlight will rupture stained-glass saints, as consecrated as scripture.
If I lay you in that cradle, closed the seal,
my orphan, smoke will coil from your fist
to the Christ, His bones
dark-knifed and intricate. This is my body, this is my blood. Take, eat.
Could you forgive me? Following the priest,
you hang that gilded censer.
Strange mother, I count bone rosaries like it might matter.