Final Soliloquy of Miss Mary Grace

to the sacred memory of Flannery OíConnor

Paul Mariani

God, I can feel the waiting room getting ready to heave
again. Look at the old codger over there. And how
about the white trash child wiping her nose on her sleeve.
And the driveling fool with his calf kicked purple by a cow?

And in the midst of all this suffering, this mountain
of a woman. Turpin she calls herself. Turpin. Well
named, old wart hog. Christ, there she goes again,
yammering on & on. Do, Lord, damn her to some fiery hellÖ.

Still going on about her field niggers & her poor white trash,
& her own high place in Godís own world. As if she knew.
As if she knewÖ.Stare at me, will you?! Iíd as soon smash
that stupid, self-important face of yours. Yes, you! You!

God, itís hot in here. Lightís growing brighter.
The chairís tremblingÖ.Look at her. Smelling like pig shit
and swearing itís roses. Headís getting lighter & lighter.
Listen to her. ďOne thing I am, itís grateful.Ē Wit-

less bitch, thanking her good friend God for making
everything just the way it is. Thank you, thank you,
Jesus! Thank you, Grand Designer, so very much for taking
my scrambled brains into your loving hands. Thank you

for my grand mal epileptic fits and this fine pimply face.
What the hellís the use of toting this three-pound brick
of a textbook about except to hurl it with all the Grace
one can against some self-appointed, self-righteous bitch?

Mind. Mind. What mind? The Meaning of Meaning,
Human Development, Darwin, Buber and all
that jazz. Woman, you watching Grace Herself preening
here. Parse this. Godís own sweet angel at your beck & call.

Paul Mariani
is a poet and has written biographies of William Carlos Williams, Hart Crane, John Berryman and Robert Lowell. He is currently writing a biography of the Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. His most recent book of poems is Deaths & Transfigurations (Paraclete Press). He currently holds a Chair in English at Boston College.