Joseph, I’m Pregnant by the Holy Ghost by Kilian McDonnell

“Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man…
planned to dismiss her quietly.”  —Matthew 1:19

Life was simple before that angel
pushed open the kitchen door,
announced light and trouble, as though
a foe had roiled the bottom of the well
and now the pail brings up only

murky water. I’m chosen for some
terrible grace beyond the well.
After short light long dark,
left to stumble through Sinai

Desert. No manna to gather, no quail
to catch. Nothing. When I tell Joseph
I’m pregnant by the Holy Ghost,
he stares, ox dumb in hurt. I’ve asked

him to believe that I, God’s
Moses-girl, part seas, give Torah. He turns, leaves
without a word. Why should my dearest

love believe? Yahweh’s not fair.
Where is the voice of light? Where
the pillar of fire? My man drops
me cold, as though I were a concubine

dismissed without a drachma for cheating
on her master’s blanket with that
swarthy Roman soldier from the barracks.
Joseph doesn’t expose me; I will not

be stoned. My heart eats Yahweh’s
cinders; I drink the last date wine
gone sour at the dregs.
God does nothing. But I carry life.

From: McDonnell, Kilian, Yahweh’s Other Shoe, 2006, Liturgical Press: Collegeville, Minnesota, pp. 18-19.
(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=hie6eOdFXV0C)

Date: 2006

By: Kilian McDonnell (1921- )

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