by Mary Eileen Ball

Shades of blue enfold your eyes
Smeared by tears as mascara drips across your cheeks.
You weep for him.
But sister, would he weep for you?

You tried everything–fertility pills,
Lingerie, the conception of a fifth child.
You reminded him of his vows, 
But he ran right into her arms. Her breath
In his ear formed manacles around your wrists.

You knew it was over when he got your name on his arm 
Drawn over in black roses—her favorite.

“Now she comes to church,” the elder’s wife whispers.
“A little late for that,” her friend claps back.
They laugh as your 2-year-old
Runs up the aisle after you slip into 
Exhausted slumber against the corner of your pew.
They tut-tut your habitual lateness,
(never mind the cereal spills and gum in hair,
Lost shoes each morning.)

The final straw comes when your Sunday School teacher
Scolds you for parking too close to the church where an elderly person might want to park.

You pack all the kids back into your old Astro van and
Whip out of the parking lot on two wheels. Your children
Never grace the doors of a church again until your oldest
Overdoses on pills 19 years later and
You need a place for the funeral.

“Now she comes to church,” the elder’s wife whispers.
“She couldn’t be bothered all those years,” her friend claps back.

Mary Eileen Ball lives with her husband and young son in the Deep South. You can find her Facebook page at

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