Looking out my Backdoor: Nobody talks about that!


Last updated 9/16/2022 at 11:38am

I had a restless night, had made a hasty decision hard to unmake, nothing important, but irritating, and my mind wanted to run it on a Mobius Loop. I said, Enough of this. I’ll think about something else.

On my bedroom wall I’d hung a beautiful depiction of Our Lady of Guadalupe. It’s not art, more like a framed poster. In the full moonlight, it was easy to focus on her calming face. I began wondering what the not-historic parts of Mary’s life might have been like and this is what came to me, all with love and respect.

Think about Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace.

That’s all very well when one is 15;

Who doesn’t like to feel special, chosen?

Important? Holier than all ’round and about?

Until the pains start. Don’t tell me there weren’t pains.

The girl was human. Humans bleed.

What about later, when he’s a little boy

And she’s just trying to teach him table manners?

While he looks at her with those eyes which know all.

Drink your milk; It’s good for you.

Don’t wipe your mouth on your sleeve.

Don’t chew with your mouth open.

Eat your peas.

I hate peas. This food is boring.

I want spaghetti. I’m going to conjure

Up a proper fork. (A sly look under those eyelashes.)

Jaysus! The Lord is with thee, indeed.

Let’s skip the part about the cross.

Enough’s been written about that.

Let’s move forward several years.

Blessed art thou among women.

You betcha. Blessed. She walks to the well,

Bucket in hand. The women gathered

Around the well quit talking, move apart,

Exchange knowing glances and go to their homes.

Nobody likes a Saint. They don’t trust Mary.

The men are worse. None dare approach.

Oh, they talk big in the baths, but she scares them.

She grows old. Very much alone. Very much human.

Bitter. Angry. Discouraged. Afraid. Arthritic.


Think about it. She wasn’t always 15,

Kind of chubby, wrapped in robes blue and white,

Smelling of essence of roses and sandalwood,

Ignorant, a halo around her head.

Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

How’d that work out for you?


Sondra Ashton grew up in Harlem but spent most of her adult life out of state. She returned to see the Hi-Line with a perspective of delight. After several years back in Harlem, Ashton is seeking new experiences in Etzatlan, Mexico. Once a Montanan, always. Read Ashton’s essays and other work at http://montanatumbleweed.blogspot.com/. Email [email protected]


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