Luke says Mary kept every-

thing—angels roaring in

the night, shepherds crawling

through dung and hay, camels,

comets—all these things,

gospels and gospels, stored in

the four chambers of her heart.

I wonder if Einstein’s mother

had room enough in her

ventricles for quanta and

atoms, light’s slow passage

through the eye of the universe.

Or Darwin’s mother enough

space in her atria for

all the creatures of the Galapagos—

tortoises and iguanas, butter-

flies and cormorants. Lincoln’s

mother died before she had

to squeeze Gettysburg and

emancipation under her ribs,

and I believe Shakespeare’s

mother departed this mortal

coil without Romeo or

the Globe nestled beneath

her breast. My mother is 

still packing things in

the attic of her chest. Just

yesterday, she asked me if

I still write poems. Yes, I told

her. I’m writing a poem

about you right now,

I said. She nodded, looked away.

I imagined her opening a box

with my name on it, wrapping

this poem in newspaper, placing

it beside the lanyard I made

for her in third grade, closing

the box again, putting it

back on the shelf in her bosom.

When she gets to heaven,

my mother will meet Mary

on a street corner,

and they’ll unpack their 

hearts. This, mother will

say, is a poem my son wrote

me for Mother’s Day. Mary

will hold out her hand, show

my mother the first tooth

her son lost, a tiny grain

of enamel in her palm. They

will find a diner to have

coffee together. They will sit

in a booth, brag about how

their kids changed the world.