33. kanchipuram

kili jyosham. a bird reads her fortune,
if a fortune were a tiny lime parakeet
spitting a tarot card from its mouth.
“Mother Mary,” the man explains,
“it means you are a good lady, many children.”

“Mary only had one child,” she corrects
(was that correct? unless)
and remembers the Virgin on the dashboard of her driver’s car,
palms up beside Ganesha. Mary, brave and afraid,
who never asked for this responsibility.
why did no one ever ask her how she felt, burgeoning
with faith and honor that no one else believed?
how the sneers from the women of Nazareth jabbed,
the eyes of the tabernacle elders glowered,
and when the bastard baby came, how the disbelief, the half-hearted apologies
washed up at her swollen feet:
“we’re sorry, we didn’t realize you were carrying the World!”

and when the miracles came, the interviewers flooded her doorsteps,
how many loaves, how many fishes,
did she see Lazarus rise with her own eyes?
she didn’t have time to answer these questions,
Joseph was coming back from the fields for dinner
and she had yet to fetch the water,
why did no one ever offer to shutter her windows for privacy?

and when the Disciples came to fact-check their copies
for the scroll they were writing,
her hair grayed-and-hennaed with the years of His travels and death,
why did no one ever ask her to add to the Good Book
as she lived and breathed it– the first steps, the first words
of the God of the Universe?

but good lady she was, and she loved her Son,
with His many children, though she had never planned to be all of their mothers,
and how He plucked from the deck of men
and created good people like saris,
tucking threads of gold between stone.
How many He made, cloths spread like aedh wishes,
waiting their entire lives to become a story.


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