Mary Christmas

I imagine her
Girl with dust-smudged cheeks.
Robe wrapped tight around swollen belly,
Fringed dirty.

Windblown. Grit in teeth.
Inner thighs burning and chapped.
Donkey too wide for little mother.
Back aching, aching, aching.
Mouth parched and chalky like sandpaper.
Eyes wide like tiny, brown moons
Will this day end?
Dusk has landed, pain comes.
She remembers saying,
“So be it to me as you have said,”
On that wild day of annunciation
But she didn’t know it meant this.
Does any mother?
Violence ripping through her like a squall
And breathing tight one breath and then another
As he looks for a room,
Refused. Refused. Refused.
She can’t ride anymore but leans against the burro side.
Brittle, straw-like hair poking her cheek.
Earthy dung smell in her nose.
His warmth comforts her
A little.

Finally shuffled into cave-like shelter
Laid down on hay by boy hands.
Relief. For a moment.
Until pains wring stronger, somehow knowing she’s arrived
And tornado-like birth commences with hurricane blood
And water. Sweat. Moaning. Crying. Enduring hours
Hearing the huffing sound of animals.
Then fire blazes and out slides wrinkly skin and smashed face
Of great beauty.
She is spent. Wrung out like rag.
She, she has conspired with God.
Awed. Look at what they have made!
Her heart clenches and cleaves to this tiny-toes son of God.
One brand-new Son held by partially grown daughter.
His lips purse. He suckles. Life flows from her body to his.
A paradox, she thinks, but finds no words.
She marvels at how the map of bones in his hands are hers.
And not.
There is a rooted explosion of identity.
She is the only mother of God. No one but her has carried him.
And no one will carry him the same was as she from now on.
She breaks into cold sweat.
And then laughter rolls up from the deep.
She begins to giggle, then belly-laugh.
It hurts her tender teen birth-parts.
And then laughter turns to glad tears.
What wonder is this?
Life giver,

Is Merry.