El Greco painted her
at a kneeler,
face upturned
to face the Unexpected.

In other scenes, the backdrop
is marble, granite, velvet
or wide blue sky stretching to the horizon.

But what do young girls know
except errands,
and chores,
and hope.

I imagine her at the marketplace,
eyeing the kohl,
but satisfied to haggle
for the price of an onion.

Who’s to say the angel
didn’t meet her
in a crowded crosswalk.

The membrane between heaven and earth
is porous.
It opens and envelops us unexpectedly
like a gauze curtain billowing in wind.

Onion skin, translucent
when held to the light,
is a membrane between two worlds:
moist round bulb, on the one hand,
and, then, the light-infused air.

The curved onion dome of an Orthodox church
is a thin barrier between life as usual
and life as it might be.

Gabriel delivers the message
and Mary grasps the onion.
On her face,
tears of surprise.


Leave a Comment

  1. I love this, Tammy. Do you mind if I copy and send to my EfM group?

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10 Joanne Gray (450-9934) Quote of the month: “…when she went out it seemed that she too had migrated, that everyone migrates, even if we stay in the same houses our whole lives, because we can’t help it. We are all migrants through time.” Exit West, Mohsin Hamid

    And all will be well…and every kind of thing will be well. –Julian of Norwich



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