Holy Mother

by Jessica Gilman

I had been chosen to bear the hope of the world.

My first response was to cry out and collapse,

my second was to scorn my destiny,

my third was to feel terror.

What would my betrothed say?


My family and friends eventually found out.

I was branded, almost beaten, and ignored.

My love forgot I existed.

I wanted to die.


I should have known that He would interfere.

After all He was the one who cursed me.

My husband dutifully led the beast of burden,

his problem only temporary until we reached our destination.

I was filled with envy of my husband.

He could get rid of his affliction;

I had to keep mine until the right moment.


The Magi are gone, their wisdom disappearing too.

Gifts are placed in front of the make-shift cradle

glittering with their happy lies.

There is no bright side now; there is only hatred and regret.

My dear, patient Joseph, my heart goes out to you.

How will you manage me, my baby?

My Lord, I will despise you until I am dead, but

I will perform the role you have forced me to take.

A cry draws my attention and I yearn to cast it aside.

The child has become a thing in my mind.

My burden, my suffering, my pain–

how will this bring joy, eternal happiness?

I raise my head, the tears running freely.

My son will unknowingly repeat my words,

“My Father, why have you forsaken me?”