Adventus Elizabeth

by Elisabeth Mehl Greene

photo of the milky way on a clear night

Luke 1:5-25

Behind closed doors
the men talked, unwelcoming
no one asked

If I want to bear this child—
finally conceive
carry to full term
after sixty
advanced in years

If my body can withstand
a nine-month journey
through pregnancy

If my arthritic limbs
will never drop him

If my hips and back
will not collapse

If I contain
several thousand wakeful nights
within me

If I can keep up
with leaping locust of a boy
through busy streets

Like a swimming sea fish
sleep with one eye open

Falcon’s watch on wild tiny
toddler grasps, gulps, chews

Mother bear’s roar
to protect his head
in a fight

Is my uterus your accomplice,
the shortest route
to prophesy

Do you require my services
beyond male child’s
safe delivery?

How can I be sure
of the deal you all made
without me?

No choice, never assented
“yes, let it be done to me”
I am not Mary

The word becomes flesh
I swell with QUESTIONS
and you say nothing

Not one word
to solicit my feelings,
hopes, fears, anything

Good news, they all gossip
lewd jokes abound
loud—do you hear too
when they implicate you?

Everyone we see everywhere
in town, our families!
laugh endlessly at my aberration

Truly geriatric pregnancy
due winking, jeering, pointing

While mamas in their teens
advise me sagely

I am a miracle
for their inspection

God did this, they say,
and will take away my disgrace
among the people,

Elisabeth Mehl Greene is a writer and composer working in the Washington, D.C., area. Her opera, Hajar, won the University of Maryland Opera Composition Contest and premiered in 2019. Her first book, Lady Midrash: Poems Reclaiming the Voices of Biblical Women, was published by Resource Publications in 2016 (reviewed here on CFT). Her poetry has been published by Mizna, the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, and District Lines.


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