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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Poem: 131 words
By Ruth Bavetta

Elegy for Aunt Katie

Whatever seam you worked on, 
there were always needles, 
and the almost invisible 

threads that clung to you 
as you guided the cloth 
with your small fingers, 

cramming wool, silk, cotton, 
under the jaws of the power machine, 
another, another, another, 

until your wrists ached 
and at the end of the day 
your knees would not unbend. 

This is goodbye. 

You lie in St. Dominic’s Church, 
with candles, incense, gilt, 
where Father Mark embraced you, 

and Sister Agnes told you the Inquisition 
was only a few bad priests, 
benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, 

where all you could have known 
was held at bay 
by all that you believed. 

Your heart lies like an apple 
in the center of the City of the Angels. 
Per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen. 

Ruth Bavetta’s
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

poems have appeared in North American Review, Nimrod, Rattle, Slant, American Journal of Poetry, Tar River Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Her fifth book, What’s Left Over, was published in 2022. She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.

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