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Felicity Yates

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Mary in the colonies

The hills bother me, until I notice the quarry,
and Mary poking up

like a tadpole totem, a white telegraph
waisted in trees

praying to a radiata hillside being scoured of
topsoil by a yellow grader, the black mud.

What kind of grotto is this, on the hills of Paraparam?
Near the overbridge and car jam, the ceaseless snout of traffic?

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for me, at the hour of my sin.

On colonial hills – no miracles, no tears –
so far from the Irish wells

where travellers tie rags
on the rowans and holy water springs,

communion brides come stepping, trusting,
hoping for the stars of Bernadette.



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