Ste. Anne’s Lace

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It’s a flower both delicate and hearty,
Which is fitting for a city like Detroit
(Just like our favorite derby girls,
Fast flashes of women-on-skates,
Bruising themselves and others on a polished ring).

I’m always enlivened by the elaborate display
Sponsored yearly, in the summer,
By the stalky weed-flowers,
Clumps of clustered white petals:
Queen Anne’s Lace, we call them.

There are only a very few cities in the Unites States
Blessed to be given a saint as patron.
Here, in Detroit, the city forever claiming to
“Rise from the ashes,” we are given
St. Anne.

St. Anne because near her day,
The explorer Cadillac first landed;
Two days later (her feast)
The first mass in Detroit was celebrated
In 1701 (75 years before Independence was declared!)

These are the details of historians, though.
And I prefer the lore of the people,
The imagination of the masses.
St. Anne, we are told, was mother to Mary,
Grandmama to little Jesus.

It was only a few years ago that Detroit became
Officially under her patronage.
Of course, I know and trust that
She prays for my city, too,
And loves it deeply, motherly, profoundly.

But I also imagine that the flowers are hers.
Maybe she makes them, for us,
Lace-making an outdated craft that we tend to overlook,
But grandma-like, she tries anyway
And decorates (in a grandma-outdated way) the city amidst
The broken concrete and abandoned streets.

Or maybe the flowers know that she watches us
And so they grow strong for her–
Every day an elaborate celebration
Of the love of grandson and grandma,
City, summer, and life in general.

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