The Quantum States of Mary

Madonna & Child, by Wes Browning
   holding your baby;
did you see a shadow fall
   on the stable wall?
When the shepherds came to pray,
   what had they heard the angels say?
Did the wise men dare to tell you all they knew?

   who are you?

Frightened child bride,
   towed by an angry Joseph
   through the swirl of history,
   shouting prophets
   thundering over your huddled form...
Untouched maiden
   meekly kneeling
   to the Master of the Universe,
   raising one cuckoo
   and a flock of sparrows,
   never losing serenity
   or innocence...
Conniving seductress
   foisting her bastard off on God,
   hoaxing Joseph to raise it,
   muddling the boy into visions,
   all to mask your own guilt...
Daughter of the prophets
   poised in ancient wisdom,
   cuddling the sweetest infant
   to the tenderest breast,
   nursing him to sacrifice and glory...
   who are you?

       did you ever fear?
       cuckold of God -
       did he take it out on you?
    Or was he so kind and noble
       you felt unworthy,
       distrusting any moment
       of anger
       or any human weakness?
    Your child-man
       who never cried at night,
       or begged for toys
       then broke them,
       who never raided the cookie jar,
       or rubbed dirt in his best friend's hair -
       did you know how weird he was,
       before you raised the other boys?
    Did you ever lie awake
       with some deep grief;
    did he come hold your hand,
       wisdom far too ancient in his eyes?
    When you found him
       lecturing the scholars,
    did you see a cross-shaped shadow
       on his path?
    Did you fear for him, Mary?
    Did you fear Him?

         I am afraid.

      To fall,
         to fail,
           to feel...
      I am afraid of pain
      and of the long slow numbing dark
         without pain...

         I do not know
         who I am.
      With no home and no money
         am I helpless,
         sick and pitiful?
      Am I angry,
         robbed and ruined
         by the System,
         the Others,
      Am I stupid,
         a wicked woman,
         reaping the returns
         of evil ways?
      Am I the player,
         one strike down
         but grinning,
         setting my feet
         to jump back in the game?

           am I your child?
        Will you hold and warm me
           until I am ready
           for my destiny?

           am I your sister?

           where are you?

        Have you found your ground
           beyond the swirl of history,
           cascading quantum images
           others painted for you;
           have you made a place
           to be your self?

           show me.

Anitra L. Freeman