Mary Hennessy’s Poetry

May 4, 2016 by

Mary Hennessy’s Poetry

How to Get There from Here


Your Ava Gardner mama
alive, juggling penny-wrappers

and jars of peanut butter—Auntie Mame in a housedress
with deep pockets—Lawrence Welk and

Hank Williams, her accompaniment and Bishop Sheen
to even things out.

Later on, classes at the Senior Citizens Center
in Saint Anthony’s basement. She stayed

exhilarated by the Egg Council.
Alive, even when she was doing her slow

dying in our dining room.
The kids could hear her open a family-sized bag of M&Ms

from the football field on the other side of 18th street.
The Golden Girls on the TV—mom and the kids and floor-rolling laughter—

I holler from the kitchen: Mom that program sounds kind of ornery.
She hollers back: Oh, honey, it is. It is.

Zarda’s banana splits for supper every Sunday night,
our ritual meal for high feasts.

A pool table downstairs covered with un-ironed
white dress shirts, everything unfinished,

undone. After her stroke, she would laugh and ask
again and again: Now honey was I or was I not

struck by lightning? She could hold onto her useless fingers
with her good hand, but everything else got away.

Maybe mama was a minor prophet, but her words
stay true: All will be well.

Our children will make music and prosper
or grieve and learn something.

Mary Hennessy is a nurse and word-crazed poet from North Carolina.

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