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About this Poem 

"This poem is from a series written in Mary Magdalene's voice. When my brother was dying from complications from the AIDS virus in his apartment in Rochester New York, I learned that other young men had come home to die, some of them in their old childhood bedrooms on the suburban streets they had left for big cities. Hardly anyone in those suburbs knew what was occurring in their midst. Later that year I heard a banging hammer—someone banging nails two or three yards away from my own apartment in Cambridge, and I thought of those young men dying at home, and of the crucifixion—how someone hearing the banging hammer might not be aware of the true nature of what was being done."
—Marie Howe

Magdalene

You know it was funny because he seemed so well the night before
I stayed over to meet a student before class

—sitting at the picnic table...already so hot so early.
I must have been looking for a pen or something

when I thought of the car keys and, rummaging through my bag,
couldn’t find them and was up and walking across the grass when

I heard myself say, I feel as if I’m going to lose something today,
—and then I knew, and ran the rest of the way.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Marie Howe. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 22, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Marie Howe. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 22, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Marie Howe

Marie Howe

Marie Howe was born in 1950 in Rochester, New York. She worked as a newspaper reporter and teacher before receiving her MFA from Columbia University in 1983.

by this poet

poem
My friend Michael and I are walking home arguing about the movie.
He says that he believes a person can love someone
and still be able to murder that person.

I say, No, that's not love. That's attachment.
Michael says, No, that's love. You can love someone
poem

“Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven devils had been cast out”

Luke 8:2.

 

The first was that I was very busy.

The second—I was different from you: whatever

poem
It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your hand,
and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still
and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as when