Mammina Proves the Existence of God – a poem by Mary Ford Neal

Mammina proves the existence of God

The day is on its hands and knees. Mammina basks
on the balcony in great-grandmother dignity,
in all the quiet of a woman who has outlived her daughter, 
collarbones glistening, little cross flashing pink 
and gold among rivulets of August evening sweat 
as the sun finally loses its grip and goes down fighting, 
painting the duomo in eyeshadow colours. 
The whole horizon is made of churches.

An ambulance squeals along an unseen street, 
not the smooth wail of the ambulances back home, 
but a desperate, discombobulated sound like the cry 
of a confused animal. Mammina makes the sign of the cross, 
lets loose a fast prayer. Her words are a string 
of small, round beads, tumbling one after the other.

How can you be so sure anyone is listening? I ask 
in her bubbling tongue. My head is dusky with 
the sweetness the city gives off at the height of summer, 
and with all my days and nights at university. 

Mammina opens one eye, closes it, smiles back in her chair,
takes a fat medjool date between leathery thumb and 
forefinger, squeezes it lightly, and says,
This perfect thing does not exist by accident. 

Mary Ford Neal is a writer and academic living and working in the West of Scotland. Her poetry is widely published/forthcoming in magazines including Long Poem Magazine, Atrium, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Madrigal, Capsule Stories, and Marble. Her debut collection ‘Dawning’ was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in August 2021. Mary is assistant editor of Nine Pens Press and ‘192’ Magazine.



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