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In the Kitchen

(‘In the sixth month the angel Gabriel…’ Luke 1:26)

Bellini has it wrong,
I was not kneeling
on my satin cushion,
in a beam of light,
head slightly bent.

Painters always
skew the scene,
as though my life
were wrapped in silks,
in temple smells.

Actually, I had just
come back from the well,
placing the pitcher on the table
I bumped against the edge,
spilling water on the floor.

As I bent to wipe
it up, there was a light
against the kitchen wall,
as though someone had opened
the door to the sun.

Rag in hand,
hair across my face,
I turned to see
who was entering,
unannounced, unasked.

All I saw
was light
white against the timbers.
A voice I’ve never
heard greeted me,

said I was elected, would
bear a son who’d reign
forever. The spirit would
overshadow me.
I stood afraid.

Someone closed the door
and I dropped the rag.