The Souvenir

At Connemara Marble,
on tour in Ireland
you bought a rosary
handmade from polished stones
sea green, black veins
the quarry’s stock-in-trade
connected by a sturdy chain,
as if for hands too stiff
to finger through
more closely spaced decades.

In 30 years of marriage,
I’ve never seen you pray a rosary
looped about your hands
devoutly kissed
pressed palm to palm in prayer
your promises to God
sealed by a dangling crucifix.

I kept my peace, stood aside
observing as you paid,
a witness to your holy whim,
a souvenir to venerate
or something bought for buying’s sake
a bauble in disguise of piety
too lovely to resist.

On either score
some grace may come of it.
What else about your intercourse
with heaven have I missed?
What innocence in jeopardy
or weary refugee
do your secret prayers protect?

Later, in the ruins of an ancient church
I remember how to genuflect.

 

 

 

About the Poet:
Kevin Shyne is a lifelong writer whose work once filled the pages of corporate annual reports, but now appears in poetry journals including Clementine Unbound, Poetry Porch, Poetry Breakfast, The Avocet and The Lyric.

 

 

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