This is the way in Rome -- no prayer
answered by the Holy Mother
should be forgotten. The wall knows
that Vincenzo Fillari is grateful
for the return of his son -- long gone
to war, home now to cut the family brick.
The wall knows that Maria Teresa Paolo
feels the heavy growth of her womb
and whispers nightly, "grazie, Madre,
grazie" kneeling by her bedside.
Forever, the wall will remember.

She comes as they all do, dressed
for gratitude in somber black, a hat,
eyes trained to the future. Her
plaque says, like the others,
"Grazie, Madonna, grazie Madre,
fino a me, sono guinti miracolm."
Surely a miracle -- the people
of Rome understand well
a miracle, and the way hard stone
is made to break into answered prayers.