Underneath the glorious stained glass ceiling of St. Vincent’s, Henry’s church in Lincoln
Park, besides the enormous stone altar, I focus on one statue I see, of Mary cradling her
adult son in her arms, as he is taken off the cross. I think of Henry’s fascination with
Mary and wonder if perhaps he has confused the Mother/Son relationship. That these
statues and images of Mary and Jesus are the family portraits he doesn’t have, that he
has erected in his mind’s eye.
My mother’s touch immaculate and cool, like a statue.
There is a framed photograph in Henry Darger’s reconstructed room of a mother holding
a baby boy. A stand-in for his mother, an image he found somewhere, perhaps lurking in
I cradled my mother in my arms in the hospital bed, my mother once so proud and
independent, now so frail, so frail, a shaven, skinny baby, body yellow with bruises. I
bathed her lovingly with my tears.
The nakedness was to break them.
The nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover. She is thy mother; thou shalt not
uncover her nakedness.
I was now the mommy. There was not much of her left.