Friday, July 8, 2016


FRA ANGELICO, c. 1438-45

“I think the country is longing for people to stop blaming one another and just grab each other’s arm and say we’re in this together,” he said. “That’s what we thirst for and we feel like we’re in a desert.”
--Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings


                             "Each time Zechariah entered her prayer chamber, he found her
                         supplied with sustenance. He said, "O Mary, whence cometh this?'
                                                                                                She said, 'From God."
                                                                           --Quran: The Family of Imran 3:37

After hours in my seventh-floor municipal office,
I am working on revisions to the drainage code
alone, like Mary high in her temple
staring at the blank screen that is my life

Mary tapping at the holy keyboard,
God sent her fully microwavable meals
with Alfredo sauce manifest
I bang on the candy machine down the hall: Nothing.
It has eaten my pieces of silver

Mary had a mentor in Zechariah,
who dropped in and taught her divine wisdom
whenever he wasn't on a vow of silence
but only burned-out Bill from computer services,
styrofoam cup loosely in hand with a little cold coffee left in it,
comes by my door to mutter about the weather

Mary got a visitation from Gabriel
which helped clarify things, like her task in the world
I get the cross-town courier in bicycle shorts, panting,
not so much to announce a virgin birth unto me,
as carrying a roll of blueprints under his arm

which I study religiously while eating
naught but stale chips
and a linty Lifesaver
The hour is late; my hunger groweth
Mary, Mary, whence cometh my succor?

--Mohja Kahf

reprinted with permission from the author

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