I remember when I stopped
not believing in God, it sent me
to my knees pleading,
hands clasped like a penitent
or a medieval saint transported
to the modern age,
struck by my mother’s stroke.
A Litany flowed through me,
of faintly remembered prayers,
growing as I spoke,
my knees impervious to the hard tile,
cramped between sink and bath.
Yet, when I opened the door,
I feigned no inner change,
knew my husband’s unknowingness
would try to eclipse my newfound light,
turn brilliance to a dull watered gray
with his scoffing gaze, the planet
of his non-belief
blocking me from radiating.
I didn’t wish to rejoin him in the cave
where I once found comfort,
watching shadows dance.
It was the start
of the end of us, the beginning
of my brighter epoch.
Laura Foley is the author of seven poetry collections. Why I Never Finished My Dissertation received a starred Kirkus Review, was among their top poetry books of 2019, and won an Eric Hoffer Award. Her collection It’s This is forthcoming from Salmon Press in 2021. Her poems have won numerous awards, and national recognition—read frequently by Garrison Keillor on The Writers Almanac; appearing in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Laura lives with her wife, Clara Gimenez, among the hills of Vermont. www.laurafoley.net