Poem: Week 3 - The Lord is With Thee

The Lord is With Thee

-from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1

They hail me Mary, full of grace.

They bless me: brave, obedient-holy.

What would you have said to the twelve-foot,

light-soaked man, a gold flecked tower

whose honey lips spoke your name? I said Yes.

Then ran, traveled days, silent, hungry,

purging in the grass, to my cousin's.

I knew nowhere else to go.

I found Elizabeth, impossibly, full

with child. She, fifty and bare, as pregnant

as I, thirteen, unknown. We, an absurd pair.

Did I hope she would recognize my angel tale,

believe for me what I hardly could?

The Lord is with thee, she said.

Her baby soared inside.

Her face was vague to my memory.

What I recalled was her voice: in candlelight,

she once tucked me under wool with my sisters,

sang us to sleep with poems of Yahweh.

How easily she spoke of God,

as if he were a neighbor, a fish vendor on the street.

Blessed art thou among women. Blessed is the fruit

of thy womb. For three months she hid me

from rumors, from my angry betrothed.

I took walks. I threw up. I ate.

Robes can only hide so much.

Then I stood beside the midwife, water basin

in hand while my cousin squatted and screamed.

I knew what my Yes meant this body must do

and wept for myself, for this child of God

given to my clumsy care.

Who am I? I once said to Elizabeth

after dinner, beside our fire. I am small

and weak in faith. She placed her palm

on my cheek, whispered, You're God's.