Andrea Hollander Budy 

Eighty-year-old Woman Gives Birth to Twins

Subblano, Italy

My husband died last year
in his sleep, my sister
the year before. This life is made

to atone,
my mother used to say,
then crossed herself.  I thought
I had. I thought my father's hands

had smoothed the rough-edged stone
of my sex to a gem before
I ever married. This

is a gift
, he told me.
I never gave it away.
I never told

even my husband, especially
my husband.
I thought this womb

held only my grief
and other people's
joy. These two beauties

I will hold
to my empty breasts.
And I will pray, as my mother

showed me. I will kneel
at the altar. Hail, Mary,
full of grace,
I will say.

Is this a miracle?
I don't know the answer.
I have always believed

Mary is our sister.
This is a gift, she was told.
But what did Joseph say?

And did he beat her?

Select o view this photo by Heather Burks larger

(Hether Burks)