First Thought With the Kevlar glove of the angel on her wrist she spoke: I know
we have to go. I know the smell of fear...
Yeshua saw at parties
that I was polite,
that I feigned interest
in most men’s revelations about God...
Imagine that awkward moment when mortals arrive
at my pearly gates only to find I am neither XX nor XY.
You feel like you’ve been waiting forever
but instead of a robed savior, it’s the Unknown
easing onto the porch and knocking.
Some days I’m tired of the making
but that might be an indication
I’m trying to do it alone
and that’s how you end up with armor
We, the childish, wear our clothes like skin,
Like a birthright.
But a divine cadre of women sew
In the deep of the maze, and far from the exit.
On Easter Sunday, we paraded white and pink
patent leather shoes past Mrs. Criple’s porch.
She offered applause, foil wrapped coins that
tasted more of wax than chocolate.
See how his lovely long body drapes
over her motherly thighs...the way
her so much younger still-virginal face
gazes down on her blameless man-child...
When we named you,
the divine love
It was color,
calling from across the field
or through the woods.
Close up it had shape
and I got to name it.
I lost hold of all I thought I could keep
Lost all hope for what was to be
The knowing of what I had come to do
Anyway, try not to doze during the homily.
No one can best your show on the Mount.
The way you used anaphora was brilliant
and so was ... but I digress.
The Virus can kill,
but so can breathing
hate on my neighbor.
she fixed her eyes on her own feet,
small compared to others’ prints fencing
her in for fear she’d stray
without patronizing trail markers...
Who is like the Lord?
A woman who helps a child walk
An eagle spreading her wings over young
A woman who searches for something lost...
When you weep
and grow weary
of the pain
in this world you made...
I bow to every flower I see and
every flower I remember,
every scent that surprises or lingers
that I can still recall years later...
I cannot forget you, child.
“I ache to nurture you, to feed you;
my breasts fill and must give.”
in this plague spring
when the leaders fail us
we try to keep each other
alive we are midwives
of solitude and survival
I will give myself
to wind's mercy, listening
where voices are muzzled,
I have never trusted
a priest with
my whole heart,
God, did you have to walk gingerly
after giving birth to me
Had you grown heavy with the weight
of my becoming
I sealed my fate with my yes—
soul sanctified, body broken
I am the Lord’s servant
The name they dropped upon my face
With water, in the country church,
Is finished using now...
Maybe I am just a golden thread
on God’s spindle,
tethered from within.
Burning the candle on both ends
she does not dream anymore
except of dishes and stitches so
it seems her work never ends...
I. The angels stood guard like the hollyhocks
In my garden: swaying in the wind, yet
Immobile. A portal had opened, how they knew not...
Why should anyone die a sacrifice
when living blood flows in me
poured out and refreshed each moontide?
For weeks, I tried to spy a nesting pair
through a mounted white pipe;
peered at moss-padded sticks lodged
in the crown of a longleaf pine.
You are electric
waltzing aware of privilege
storing that excess
energy in masculine swagger
Worship is no more
Than the gentle bow of the branch
Jonah would laugh,
at this miracle
These grew and became works of art.
Reared and fostered by my own hands.
But these were not my literal children.
Fresh out of high school, a novice in a shortened habit
scoured remote hollers, visited coal camps, argued scrip...
Hail, darling, full of grace
Half grown, half girl, all of eighteen
That night I made pilgrimage to your trailer
Pale, sweaty, stringy blonde hair
Framing your sapphire eyes.
Young woman, boo-boo healer,
songwriter, wonderful comforter,
mighty good, everlasting Mama,
peasant of peace,
filled with grace and grit
I will not cobble together
a defense of myself
with lines from your holy book.
Manoah’s wife was one of those women / with closed wombs who inhabit pages / of the Bible, women like Sarah and Elizabeth, / too old to conceive, Rachel and Hannah, / who also yearned for children...
Luke secondhand remembers harshly / Overlooked Martha: upset, anxious, aggressive, / distracted, troubled, bothered, encumbered, / fretting, fussing, busy, missing...
I see the shape of the Alef and the shape of the Lamed / I see the shape of the final Tzadi and the shape of the Hay / I see the shape of your Nose and the shape of your Hands
We are conjure women,
we who traverse portals opened by ancestral song,
we who dream the dreams and speak the tongues
of lands we have never seen.
Maryam is giving birth
Her face is sweaty like a laborer,
like a marathon runner
God is her Doula massaging
the small of her back with a tennis ball
If Jesus were married
it would help explain why
he valued women higher than his contemporaries
and risked his life to go against church teachings