Valley of the Mother of God

I am driving the

Valley of the Mother of God.

I did not know.

It takes me by surprise.

I am in the rolling hills

of a beautiful moraine

on a day that teaches me

new life is seething


I have seen wondrous things so far.

An American eagle sculpture

in red white and blue

on a ball of gold, all animus

and power,

discarded beside the road.

A small drumlin,

so exquisitely sculpted

that its form,

in a field,

is not a mound of glacial drift

but the perfect profile

of a woman’s breast.

Three women,

hammers in hand,

dancing lightly on a roof,

shingles moving lazily

toward them

by conveyor.

I notice iron gates

askew, enmeshed with weeds.

I think of the lyric,

Mother Mary comes to me,

as I apply the brakes.

Valley of the Mother of God, it says,

black letters glinting

dully, in the sun.

I squirm and

I am unaccountably alarmed.

A church, I realize,

somewhere down

the property,

gated against the world.

Nothing but metal, then

And words belonging

to Florence

in the Medici age,

or Rome.

My eye catches

sun on the

burnished wood

of an ancient stile

across the road.

I hear the

muted braaaaap

of motorcycles

coming this way,

and I move on.


Image of valley:  Oak Ridges Moraine Land Trust

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