Three Nameless Voices By The River
– Sister Lou Ella Hickman

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“a levite woman, a pharaoh’s daughter, and a child”

Exodus 2:1-10

i am a mother who can no longer hide my son . . .
   perhaps someone will pity
     and for such pity’s sake
      take him 

nameless as a slave i bathe in this river
risking death to become fertile as our fields
   better that
    than to be without a child 

i am the oldest and nameless . . .
   as i guard i bridge pity and good-by 

         until she arrives 

i am also the daughter in my father’s great house
who names another mother’s child
      our separate streams of hungers meet
          as if in a river running . . .

she brings him home
  so that i may suckle him . . .
   my second letting go–
     kisses and agony


Sister Lou Ella Hickman, a member of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, has a collection of poetry titled “she: robed and wordless”.