witness in the dark

my grandfather’s face
sinks into red hollows
he snarls I’m a liar
makes me wash
in the clawfoot tub
drives my back
to St. Ursula’s
leaves me
with Father Sylvestre
to confess

statues of saints
watch from pedestals
witness what happens
so does the Madonna
she must hear my cries
yet when I look up
nothing has changed
she still holds her child
leaves me alone
with the priest

~ Mary Ann Mulhern

This poem is from Mary Ann Mulhern’s collection When Angels Weep, forthcoming from Black Moss Press (April 2008). When Angels Weep gives voice to survivors of pediophile Father Charles Sylvestre, who was convicted of forty-seven counts of sexual abuse against young girls over a forty-year period in the London Diocese, Ontario.

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