Maybe the first / was good enough, loved enough / Maybe a pink fetal Jesus wants / no other home
Poetry by Mary Leauna Christensen
When you left I preened the carpets,
finding a white piece of you, burrowed
for warmth, threaded around fiber.
I used to massage your temples,
cooing to the white hairs you thought
I favored those hairs, isolated in pigment-
less streaks, and with my lips I tucked them
behind your ears.
Now there was not enough hair for a nest,
so I slipped the strand inside my mouth
and swallowed it whole,
then wondered if it curled in ribbons
through my core, if it grew thicker,
if it replaced my bones’ soft marrow
with clear thread, if like Arachne’s,
my body was no longer mine
but the hair’s. I touched the tips
of my fingers and toes, looking for
traces of gossamer—
touched the warm center of my stomach
for ways I may have cocooned you
inside of me.
People talk about a Second Coming,
but they never seem to mention
a new Mary—
another teenaged virgin, wide-eyed,
accepting, favored by both God
and Gabriel. Maybe the first
was good enough, loved enough.
Maybe a pink fetal Jesus wants
no other home, says
Nothing beats First Mary’s womb.
Maybe the Holy Father is getting
tired of tantrums
and somewhere in Nazareth
rocks tumble from a cave.
Maybe a woman or what used to be
a woman comes out of the earth—
her bones rehydrate, grow stronger,
grow new meat, fresh organs,
soft brown skin, her everything
Though God might notice a flaw here,
might notice Death has touched Mary
a little too much, might say
She isn’t exactly a virgin, is she?
Maybe God turns to his son, says
Go back as something else, something
And maybe in a desert, a mother
starts looking for her son.
Mary Leauna Christensen has lived in Southwest deserts, in kudzo-infested Appalachia, and currently lives in the Pacific Northwest. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University, and is Managing Editor of The Swamp Literary Magazine and Poetry Wolf Press. Her work can be found in Permafrost, Driftwood Press, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Sugar House Review, among others.