Annunciation in a Gas Station Bathroom
After I pee and wipe, I creep close, sit on my heels, wanting to see the electric pinkness, but not wanting to stroke the baby mouse’s nakedness or to grave it. On the broken door I read—The Lord is with you! My tongue, ashen and chemical like it was after kissing a fire-eater, divine word trying to plant itself in the fleshy nautilus of my ear, but I refuse it. Forgive me. If the baby was alive, it would disgust me, but my eyes feast on the gorgeous and dusty stillness. The pleasure of nightmare is the pleasure of image. The mother mouse is gone, surviving. So I look. I consent. I take it all in. Sight, the intimacy that needs distance. Unafraid, I lean closer, not wanting the fact of the dead pup’s color, but its blood-bright knowledge. Glory, glory, it grows in me, a miracle too new to know the word for its rendering, and like any woman the Lord overshadows, I bear it.
This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.