I wonder if Mary––

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“The Virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:27

“And the angel said unto her, Fear Not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with God.” Luke 1:30

If we could bring her back
For just a morning,
For a cup of coffee, a cranberry scone,
And the day’s headlines,
To really talk with us,
If she would have said
She’d remember things
Differently than we were taught
To believe.
She’d start off blaming
Drunk as she was
On God’s wine that night–
Hearing how He favoured her
“Amongst all women,”
The scent of white lilies, and
Shining with the honey-sweet smile
And soft face
Of an angel.
“No, thank you,” or
“I don’t even know you,” or
“I’m in love with someone else.”
She could only accept Him–
All-powerful as He was, and she,
A frightened adolescent, in some ways,
Still a child, alone
In her room that stormy March eve.
She could not push Him off
Or His intentions away.
Predestined, as she was.
Chosen before the World was created,
So they said.
Who said that?
Who said I had no choice? She’d demand.
Even though she knew
It wasn’t worth knowing.
It would just make her angry, and this is way past.
Ancient, she’d say.
Oh Mary, we know you
Were not wearing tight jeans or smoking
Lucky Strikes on a corner off of Van Ness
or in a bar at midnight, Rue de la Seine.
And still it happened
To you too.
Had you known, Mary
That the so-called Lord has tried this
Tired line time and again,
That you were like other women,
All Women, I wonder,
If you would have still felt
Like you had to say yes?
I’d whisper the name
Satyavati as you sipped your coffee,
And tell you that in her case,
It was a boat, and “the Lord”
Sent a Sage to do His work.
He promised her she’d stay a virgin.
Sound familiar?
True story, Mary. When I was a child
Your statues were seen weeping blood
At my church. I think I know now why.
What if you asked the Lord
That night, in your own defense,
To slow down,
Not to be in such a hurry?
Maybe He’d have to change.
He’d have to say to you,
“Mary, I need you, but
We can’t be together in the way
The world would understand.”
Maybe you could have
Thought it over a little longer?
Or if you told him that
You’d really rather not
Get pregnant?
(You’d later recall your hidden
Admiration at the ecstasy of a Teresa–
Or a John.)
Their God, oh Mary, was no misogynist.
Mary, does this make us sinners? Are we sinners? I’d ask.
We didn’t listen to your story. To be honest, I’d say ashamedly,
We didn’t really think you had one.
Silent night
Could be a feminist hashtag, you’d say.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
When He comes back,
Use your teeth. Kick. Yell. Scream
“Fire” (Since “Help” doesn’t seem to work.)
Do whatever you can.
And if He threatens
To abandon You
For good, to leave you with nothing,
To die alone, without child, and
Forgotten by the world
Dare Him.
Stephanie Van Hook is the Executive Director of the Metta Center for Nonviolence.
Slideshow image (“Triptych of the Nativity” by García del Barco) courtesy of Wikimedia.