Burden by Michael A. Griffith

Two old men rattle-off prayers
with Brooklyn accents, racing the priest.
Young family two pews back seek
guidance, solace, and time.
The homily over, the body
and blood served, good-byes, well wishes.
In a back pew a woman has fainted
from the heat and her heavy 9th month.
The family stops to help, the old men
sidle by with quick prayers.
The priest is summoned and he
is quick to help but not to comfort;
he knows this woman, knows her
sins, knows she came for more than prayers,
more than he can give her now.
The woman wakes and blinks
and stutters and apologizes.
Her baby stirs within feeling
more a burden than anything else
in the hot church this August day.
The priest ushers the family
to the door, turns, goes back to the woman,
looks down into her damp eyes, around her pale
face, to her dry quivering lips and whispers her name.


Michael A. Griffith began writing g poetry after a disability-causing accident. His chapbooks Bloodline and Exposed were released in fall 2018. Mike was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in October 2018. He lives near Princeton, NJ and teaches at Raritan Valley Community College.

Michael A. Griffith (@AuthorMGriffith) | Twitter

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