The Virgin Mary is a Collapsed Umbrella

By 
Julie Mahfood

Walk down the street getting wet from the rain washes
sheets onto clothes stuck to skin. Take clothes off; walk
down the street naked and alone. It is night time; the sky

is dark. There is no moon, stars hidden behind mass
of cloud, pollution. Every city dweller sleeps. Walk
for hours, wet and nude. Body hot will not cool.

Lick lips parched fat with longing. Walkabout—this
series of hallucinations: a dog with no name, black
and hairless, his bright eyes the only light for miles,

his speech unintelligible for the sirens. Police cars
followed by ambulances, fire engines. Would that
there were men on them—here, just hippopotami

and flamingos. Brain a pack of ground beef. Your
children are empty—walk around them as they lie
on the street, arms akimbo, hands begging kisses.

Walk on—no destination. A train track. Station. The
back of the caboose. Noose around neck will not be
removed. Heavy shoes, legs filled with weights. No hate

here, no love—just you, walking wet and naked,
pulled in two directions by head and feet, children
left behind, and no one to pray to. 

Julie Mahfood produces/hosts two literary series on Montreals West Island: “Tea and Poetry” and WIRE; she is currently doing graduate studies at Concordia University in English and Creative Writing. Julie has previously been published in: Room, Literary Review of Canada, The Antigonish Review, carte blanche, montreal serai and The Caribbean Writer, with upcoming in CV2. 

“It's Canadian, feminist, and one of my favourite things ever.”

—bucketofrhymes, "29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading", Buzzfeed Books

Room relies on subscriptions from readers like you. Help us continue to promote and support diverse women and genderqueer authors and artists by subscribing today.

SUBSCRIBE

More from the Reading Room

Currently on Newsstands

  • room magazine 40.4 issue cover
    Room 40.4, Let's Make Contact
    Edited by Chelene Knight

    In this issue:

    Kate Balfour, Selina Boan, Chelsea Comeau, elaine corden, Nancy Jo Cullen, Ariel Dawn, Harjit Dosanjh, Jann Everard, Jiyoon Ha, Gili Haimovich, benjamin lee hicks, Edythe Anstey Hanen , Claire Miller-Harder, Kyla Jamieson, Amanda Kelly, Cara Lang, Ashley Little, Andrea MacPherson, Rowan McCandless, Hajer Mirwali, Barbara Rosini, Sheila Sanderson, Taylor Stewart, Anny Tang, Susanne von Rennenkampff, Aisha Walker, jia qing wilson-yang

    .