michael mack poem "our lady of sorrows"

A finalist in the national Foley Poetry Prize, Michael Mack's poem "Our Lady of Sorrows" first appeared in the September 13, 2004 issue of America magazine and was anthologized in Best Catholic Writing 2005.

our lady of sorrows

Why my mother chopped off her hair

and followed me to the school bus stop

that morning in second grade,

I don't know. Or why


she bent down sobbing

don't let go of my hand.

How long did we stand by the 7-11?

Other kids hushed, watching.


When the bus clunked to a stop

I climbed on first, grabbed a seat in back,

my mother outside, hands curled

on my window, her face a blur


as the bus jerked away.

The kid beside me punched my arm.

Who was that man with you

crying so hard?


I said I didn't know.

Three times I swore, I don't know him.

– michael mack

School bus

credit: ian britton