good friday

today the warmth returned
and the blond-haired boys were
running wild through beds
of brittle hydrangea
and barren rose canes
when the littlest
still unsteady on his feet
caught his teddybear bib on a thorn

i watched from a distance
wondering whether he could
free himself on his own
or whether the briars would prove
too sharp and set him wailing —
but he broke free at last
and i silently sighed in relief

they are not my sons, these little men
but in moments such as these
every mother instinct echoes
wanting to protect from pain
as though the thorns that prick him
might pierce my heart too —

oh mary, i weep with you