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.