THE MARY POEM: PART FOUR
The wife of Zebedee mends the nets–
her hands as rough as a fisherman’s hands.
My husband is too old, she says,
to go in the boat alone.
It is a wondrous thing, she says,
to go in a boat at night.
My sons will not return, she says,
and cuts a cord with her yellow teeth.
Our sons will not return.
But then she laughs and ties her knots:
They’ve promised me a golden crown.
My firstborn took my bread in his hands,
blessed it and tore it and gave it his name.
My bread, in my mouth, the flesh of my child.
And we sang, and the men went out.
After they had gone, we washed the plates and bowls and swept the room.
When there was nothing left in there, I came out here to watch the moon.
She is empty.
A white hole in the sky.
I am a hole in earth.
Once I held the waters–oceans, rivers, the fountains and wells, every drop of dew–
Now I am empty.
Now I have done.
Fruit of my womb.
They condemned, betrayed and nailed–
my firstborn son.
Rebels gasp on their crosses,
soldiers kneel in the dust
tossing dice for the tunic–
can their mothers
My son hangs
and promises paradise
to innocents duped by power,
here I stand.
You, Chief Priest and Council,
all timid and zealous for your laws–
I curse your power.
By all the blood that women bleed,
by all the screams,
by all the fear and bruising,
by water and fire and stone,
by Adam’s skull,
this ground filling and filling
The heavens are silent.
His Father in heaven
Or he is dead.
It is all the same.
But I have spoken.
I thirst, but not for wine,
hunger, but not for bread.
Once I magnified eternity,
but ravage and wrong.
Our body, broken.
All the wine is sour.
All the water, salt.
So many nights I have watched with the moon;
so many times, alone.
The moon is too silver, too bright.
should not be so beautiful.
The olive blossoms
should not smell so sweet.
The wind should not
touch my face so softly,
In my dark house
I am making bread.
We shall go to the tomb
when the cock crows in the garden,
when the sun has pushed aside the stone.