There is no mirror in Jerusalem.
Before my mother had a hole cut into her belly,
before she got the cancer that hissed and snaked
through her insides, I told her about Mary who
was a beggar I had met on the streets of Jerusalem
all those years before. Mary, sometimes
as she was able, apprenticed to stitch doe-skinned
cloths that held coins off her neck. She had hundreds
of soft pouches filled with talisman stones, or crumbled
frankincense. Mary, long before my mother, had a wound.
She would open her robes and allow strangers to put
their fingers into her bloody pouch. It made me think of sin
or something. My mother slyly told me “her Mary
was different.” That the Mary I met had been crazy with Jesus,
wild-eyed but not holy. Mom said Mary was probably not
a virgin, and definitely not anyone’s mother. She may
have been the heavenly hostess of coin-filled pouches,
in God we trust. This was Thanksgiving in 1989. Tonight
when the night concentrates on its breathing, when the stars
listen to hear if there is a moral to my story, I have no Mother
to tell it to, no wounded mother to argue with. I want to
say it straight. There are no stories in Jerusalem worth saving,
no souvenirs worth keeping. All the mirrors have gone
to rust. These stories, I so urgently tell, are the new old lies.
Laurie Byro‘s short stories and poetry have appeared in dozens of presses including: Loch Raven Review, The Literary Review, Triggerfish, Snakeskin, Redactions, and Chaminade Review, among others. In January 2011, Laurie was named one of the “Poets of the Decade” by the IBPC competition for her 2000-2010 work, amassing more awards than any competing poet. Her chapbook The Bird Artists was published in 2009 and Laurie was Poet Laureate of Allendale, NJ from 2009 to 2013. Her work draws on myth and fairytale and her experiences of foreign places in the years she worked as a travel agent. Laurie has been facilitating Circle of Voices, poetry discussion in NJ for over 15 years, currently at the West Milford Township Library where she is Poet in Residence.
Rhiannon Thorne‘s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Midwest Quarterly, and The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review, among others. She is the Managing Editor of cahoodaloodaling and an associate interviewer and a book reviewer at Up the Staircase Quarterly.