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Jeri Theriault


My mother’s saints—the quiet

ones—have grown used to their oblivion.

Like most things my mother left

they don’t fit my life without her. I claim them

anyway—Joseph of real estate and Matthew

of accounting. Oh, she believed

in Jude [desperate] and Anthony [lost]

but loved the lesser saints for their specific

uses their pinpoint map

of woes and wishes. Genevieve

of disasters and Paris Edward of difficult

marriages and Theresa her name

saint patron of headache sufferers.

Mom worked in bookkeeping

divorced my father and sold

our old house. Maybe she dreamed

in French. I imagine her in a raccoon coat

and red heels stubbing out a Winston

as she slipped her pleas into the side

door of Sacred Heart a wild stab

slightly snide hedging her bets.


Jeri Theriault’s poetry collections include Radost, My Red and the award-winning In the Museum of Surrender. She is the editor of WAIT: Poems from the Pandemic. Her poems and reviews have appeared in many publications. She lives in South Portland, Maine.


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