On contemplating Matilde Olivera’s Virgin of Hope

I find you in the dark side of the moon,
in the silver shadow of slivered leaves,
in the vacant vestibule I walk through every
night, barefoot. Whoever grieves

for the proffered muscle and cavity
is asked to settle for potency,
what might yet be—or not—the wince
of violets and baby things. God’s agency

taps every seed; the seed accedes,
with or without a tear. O Mother of the buried
breeze, that I might latch this gasp—this wish-
bone wheeze—to your unhurried

keep. The way you held the folds
as heaven would: assuming, hence assumed;
the way the linen held—spring posies
here and winter there—when Thy will bloomed.

Sofia M. Starnes, D. Litt. (hon.), Virginia Poet Laureate, Emerita, is the author of six poetry collections, most recently The Consequence of Moonlight (Paraclete Press).

This poem Oblation is the winner of the Catholic Literary Arts 2022 Sacred Poetry Contest, which was judged by the acclaimed poet A.M. Juster.

Matilde Olivera is an award-winning Spanish painter and sculptor based in Madrid. Her goal is to make the spiritual realities palpable and bring more beauty to the world through her art. To view her work or to purchase a copy of Virgin of Hope visit:

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