Grace – a poem by Judith O’Connell Hoyer


Some might believe that grace is in the posture of this spine-straight, silent pilgrim. Some would argue it to be her smooth, sculpture-worthy patina. They’d say it’s like the vision of an angel cast in solid brass, the way it clashes with the orange and pink Dunkin’ Donuts sign on the wall behind her where she sits. Plastic sacks fixed at her feet like marble altar stones. Some would consider her grace to be the fact that she is unembarrassed by her dog-bed-of-a-woolen-coat. She is certainly a modest woman who would choose to cover herself with the navy blue of a man’s oversized giveaway. Others would suggest that grace is in her polite eyes that rarely blink, that never inspect her hands, never mind a rope of hair that gets in her face. Most would notice the elderly couple sipping coffee, the folks in line ready to order from the all-day breakfast menu. She is not interested in them, in food. She replies no, thank you to everything except the six sugars, one cream I place in front of her, which she does not touch. Truthfully, it is the onset of the shop’s closing when Grace will be swept into tomorrow, when Grace will have to stand, balance her bagged belongings, place one foot in front of the other to avoid a puddle, a pothole, a car, in order to find shelter on this night that promises a patient rain.

Judith O’Connell Hoyer’s 2017 chapbook Bits and Pieces Set Aside was nominated for a Massachusetts Book Award by the publisher of Finishing Line Press. Her first full-length book of poetry Imagine That is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press in March 2023. Judith’s poems can be found in publications that include CALYX, Cider Press Review, Southwest Review, The Moth Magazine (Irish), The New York Times Metropolitan Diary, and The Worcester Review among others. She and her husband split their time between Massachusetts and Rhode Island, USA.

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