Marina Muhlfriedel

Me and the Virgin Mary stepped out for a cigarette.
Hadn’t seen one another in years.
Cara, she asked with that same serene smile,
y’keeping well?

I’m so damn sorry about your boy.

You know
I know
just how you feel.

She embraced me and I sank
into that shadowy time.
Forever invoking the immortal grief
of Michelangelo’s Pieta.
A young son draped
like a napkin of tragedy
across his mother’s lap.

We know what it is to touch a place so deep,
one can no longer breathe,
she whispered.

When that elevator descends
without an end,
reach for me.

Cara, she said, extending those perfect chiseled hands,
I’ll be there to care for you.
To show you the way back up.

A gasp of divine air
thawed my paralytic lungs.

Me and the Virgin Mary crossed paths at the Piazza Navona,
I offered her my apricot gelato.
We strolled all the way to the coliseum
celebrating a thousand anniversaries.

Across the ages, across generations
All those newborns with the promise of a mighty life.

All those headfirst dives into the lightness of our world,
Brimming with nothing but possibility.

Where do all those possibilities and all that promise go,
when the babies are no more? I asked.

Angels sped by on motorbikes
and as quickly forgotten.

Last night, I ran into the Virgin Mary in Mexico City.
She was standing in an alcove at Casa Azul.
Got a smoke for an old pal?
She asked.

Couple of mothers, aren’t we?
Just look at us,
still breathing strong,
when we swore there wasn’t a chance.


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MARINA MUHLFRIEDEL is a native Angeleno and a published and produced writer and filmmaker. She has been featured in Angels Flight literary west, had two poems put to music on albums from CIRCE The Black Cut, an Athens-based global arts collective and her haiku was featured in a public art display in Washington DC. An essay she wrote appears in Harvey Kubernik's recent book, "1967: A Complete Rock Music History of the Summer of Love." Marina has been a participant in the Bali Writers & Readers Festival and reads her poems and stories at venues across Los Angeles.