Maxine Beneba Clarke

and if hell exists


    hail mary, full of grace

then surely they have lived it



    hail mary, mother of god    

there is a special place

inside the vatican

for men like pell


whose shadows fall over communion

goblets whose crisp white collars bleach

bed-wet horrors whose

swishing bishop robes



the sunday darkness


of which they

    (children, shiny-shoed

    and trembling)


dared not

dare not



        but now they have




    hail mary, mother of mercy

give them strength

    hail mary, bring them peace

and oh

    hail mary, mirror of justice    

            we believe them


we believe

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

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