by Elisabeth Mehl Greene

Sunlight streaming into a dark cave

I should have asked the angel
if I make it

I hear favor
and see the glint of swords

My life already sacrifice
for yours

and my streams of time
turn to red wine

My body the altar
where the spark of your life
set mine aflame

you will call him Jesus
and I can look no further
than your name

I will name you—
I make it until then
I expect

I feel my breath
form the word
as incense

But is this a whisper
as I fade?

I sprawl in blood
beside animals
in the filth,

Or do I make it
to the eighth day?

Will I taste sunlight
outside this dank cave?

Much beyond?
Do I know you at twelve?

If I must leave now,
who will feed my baby?

I sealed my fate with my yes—
soul sanctified, body broken
confluence overflowing
I am the Lord’s servant

Do not be afraid,
and I see Joseph’s eyes
drained of faith
darken at my name

My beloved didn’t speak to me
all the way to Bethlehem

I hear good news
and feel the jarring gait of mules

and I wonder
how many steps I have left

then I hear rain

Elisabeth Mehl Greene
Elisabeth Mehl Greene is a writer and composer working in the Washington, D.C., area. She is the author of Tobit Detours and Lady Midrash: Poems Reclaiming the Voices of Biblical Women (reviewed here on CFT), and was the founding editor of Untold Volumes: Feminist Theology Poetry. Her work appears in 45th Parallel, CIRQUE, Lucky Jefferson, NonBinary Review, Bourgeon, VoiceCatcher, Mizna, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Erase the Patriarchy, and District Lines IV.


  1. I see The Altar Stone, as i was reading this before i read your Poem, The Altar Stone in The Holy of Holies, where the Ark once was, – and now left is a large stone where animal sacrifice was, put on – and the blood drained down a channel, yes , and it belongs to The Dome, Al-aksah, (muslim), well your words certainly sprang that to life in our Body Altar- and perhaps menstruation or just our blood from Christ- flowing inside our inner temple- you described in artistic way, – perhaps you hadnt meant menstrual, but women are more connected to blood than ‘ men ‘ , therefore our inner workings testifye naturally ?
    I sprawl in blood
    beside animals
    in the filth,


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