Jessica Cloud

The Rosary

Wearing Papa’s old Schlitz tee shirt
Thinner than dragonfly wings
My chubby knuckles on my small square hands
Clasped my blue and white plastic rosary

My grandmother beside me, also on her knees
She rolled a pearly iridescent bead between her ladylike fingertips
She knew, no expected, that I had the ability to focus
Despite my tiny age

We had gotten home from bingo
And had a bath
Now we finished a spend-the-night evening the same way we always did
By saying our prayers together

I called her Mo, which was halfway between Margaret and Mama
Some cousin not being able to choose between the two long ago
And in its complete appropriateness, it stuck

Through the rosary, she taught me focus
Learn the words, say them perfectly
As a sign of earnestness and devotion
God doesn’t mind your Southern accent

Through the rosary, she taught me concentration
Stick with the program no need to count
Feel your way around with the beads
Pay no attention if your knees hurt

Through the rosary, she taught me meditation
While you recite, think on the mysteries
Run the stories through your head
Learn from them as you beseech the Queen of Heaven

Through the rosary, she taught me truth
What I learned was that even a god
Even the God
Needed the help of a human woman to come into the world