our lady of sorrows
Why my Mother Chopped off her hair
and followed me to the school bus stop
that morning in second grade,
I don’t know. Or why
she bent down sobbing
don’t let go of my hand.
How long did we stand by the 7-11?
Other kids hushed, watching.
When the bus clunked to a stop
I climbed on first, grabbed a seat in back,
my mother outside, hands curled
on my window, her face a blur
as the bus jerked away.
The kid beside me punched my arm.
Who was that man with you
crying so hard?
I said I didn’t know.
Three times I swore, I don’t know him.
A finalist in the national Foley Poetry Prize, Michael Mack’s poem “Our Lady of Sorrows” first appeared in the September 13, 2004 issue of America magazine and was anthologized in Best Catholic Writing 2005.
Read an interview with Michael Mack at
Photo: Eric Lafforgue