Mary E. Delabruere


The rhythm of the hours
pulsates in them—
or so it seems—
when they gather
mind present to God
Day follows night
follows day
Breathing psalm
Chanting psalm
Becoming psalm
Distractions defer
to the strength of
intoned syllables
rising from the choir stalls
the gift of enclosure’s embrace



Her cancer cells shuttle the twin girls
house to house.
Half-whispers rape
their childhood minds,
forcing awareness of
that which they’re too young to know
about radiation, biopsies,
a mother who may die.

Sometimes, after treatments
they watch, horrified
as her body buckles,
vomiting in rebellion.
Observing her,
they clutch their dolls like she clutches life
laying on the shelter’s bed,
raw from the latest eviction.

Later, Becca has a meltdown
at the store as her aunt
tries to help her to choose
a Christmas gift for her mama.
Abby stoically offers comfort—
an older sister does that,
though she is only minutes older
and the cancer cells chase her too.


Mary E. Delabruere

Mary E. Delabruere, a mother, poet, and Registered Nurse, resides in Massachusetts. Foundress of the former monthly series, Sunday Poetry at Esselon, her poems have appeared in online journals including Diverse Voices Quarterly, Three Line Poetry, and Deep Water Journal. Additionally, she has been published in several anthologies including, Silkworm 5, and Bullying: Replies, Rebuttals, Confessions, and Catharsis, Perspectives 2, and Paradise Found: A Walking Tour of Northampton Through Poetry and Art. Her work will be included in the soon to be published Silkworm 11 anthology.

My meditative prayer life includes praying the psalms in the daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and attending and praying the Roman Catholic Mass.