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The Quickening (Mary’s pregnancy at 16 weeks)

If prayer is a bare tree,
clod-bound,
yet reaching up with jagged
branches to the boundless
pasture of sky,

think of her that day
his bare weight
reached the tipping point

and she could feel him beat
against the thickening
of her flesh,
fleeting as a silver-fish;

there-and-gone
as a firefly in the dusk.
It’s a feeling as scarce
as your eyelash against
your cheek, the lightest spasm
of the eyelid

and she may have wondered
if it was so;
but there it was again.

That day, Christ in utero
found the softest
boundaries of the world,
and she knew,
in the newest sense,
the gravity-bound God

that swam; the first touch
of the divine to us.
That flickering in her womb,
was like buds on the stark branches
of our prayer;
in what seemed unending
silence: God’s lips.



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