Ave Maria   Leave a comment

Ave Maria*


After a morning of painting the exterior of a

double-shotgun house in Orleans parish and

an afternoon of touring outlying areas

including the lower ninth ward, where signs of life

were scattered like sunflowers here and there

in still-empty lots two and a half years after the Storm

we sat in a sanctuary to watch slides and even

without pictures of bodies floating face-down

(which we also still had in our heads)

the images one after the other slammed on

us like torrential unceasing rain wind and water.


For the photographer they were sacred, even

healing but for us they were scary and

leading to emotional devastation the valley

of woe and how do you lift up for air? so many

waterlined statues of madonna in the wreckage

where are the real madonnas and why are her

hands outstretched and her face inclined why

her downward gaze her almost imperceptible

smile and will she be there for the memory

of the dead and for those rebuilding

and for the lonely and for the displaced?


These hands held the boards the hammer the brush the

ladder the ammonia spray the sandwiches and the saxophone –  

we were there, and volunteers came before us,

and a group after us will come, and we will come again.


                                          –Bonnie Hariton


* “Ave Maria” by Ruth Cunningham on HARC’s Inside Chants cd


Posted May 27, 2008 by NOLA-er in Uncategorized

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