If Mary Were Mine

If my pre-teen daughter came to me

and said she was pregnant and God

was the father, and the fetus she carried

would be the one to save us all, I would

slap her face around to the back of her head,

which is likely what Mary’s mother did

when her girl announced that she’d skipped

a period.


The fury of this mother is easy to imagine,

given the small town in which they lived

and the speed with which such news

would travel door to door, like the tenth

plague in Egypt.


Looking into her child’s wide eyes, the mother

of Mary didn’t see the creche with nodding donkey

and cud-chewing cow, disheveled shepherds beside

gift-bearing kings, and a holy child in the middle,

his pudgy fingers raised in the universal

sign of blessing.


What she saw was horror; a thunderhead rising up

dark and foreboding, swallowing the sky, their home,

her daughter; spinning them all into the squall of

danger and shame.


She acted quickly, before the knowing nods

started, and bustled Mary off to her pregnant

cousin’s house in the hills far away where

the two could gestate together. Mary would

return childless, and the cousin would raise

a set of twins.


The heat of my palm cools; the hand-mark

fades on the daughter’s face in my mind and

young girls visiting relatives out of town

hold their breath and quietly give their

babies away.

One thought on “If Mary Were Mine

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