Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Annunciation, 1960

By the bare altar
the minister pinned paper wings to my shoulders,
scolded me for forgetting my halo.

Light glazed the sweat
on his forehead. I hid behind a curtain,
sniffed the lily in my fist.

Aching for the Virgin
to end her song, I mouthed:
“Blessed art thou who art favored with the Son of God. . . .”

Under the cardboard dove
I knelt, hoping for a miracle
to write the angel’s lines on my hand.

All I heard was blood
throbbing in my ears, the Virgin’s gown
rustling toward the curtain,

shoes scuffing the church floor.
On the stage crisscrossed by shadows,
I waited with my crushed lily, my gift of silence.  

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