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Yeshua -- Poetry, by Michael

In the beginning. . .
was the word

 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.
Psalms 68:11

 
1. the Annunciation

She was 15 and pregnant, unwed, a virgin.
   From the roof terrace where pigeons fretted
in dwindling light, she could see dark clouds
   roil above western hills, explosive bursts

of upended sky churning, relentlessly coming,
   consuming all. Late summer storms, sudden
and brief, were welcomed, but this seemed
   more: a juggernaut of impending violence.

She swept up drying figs from slabs along
   the parapet wall into her woven-reed basket,
watched a flurry of wind sweep down the road,
   raising dust as if to life, swirling, serpentine,

the storm's advance charge. How chill the air,
   sea-scented, the seething mass obliterating
from view white-washed houses, sloping valley,
   cedar grove, a field of shriveled barley stalks,

low rock wall, fleeing swallows, an ox, its cart
   and man, the mountain of black grinding its path
and all into nothing she could see. Nausea rippled
   through her – vertigo -- as she gazed down.

She clutched her stomach, its turbulence. As rain
   began to pelt, she held the balustrade to calm
herself, held on, gasping cooler air deep into where
   what flared, soon diminished. She stood inside
 
the trellised patio, above the courtyard, eyes closed
   to her mother's imploring gestures. Wet gusts
drenched her blue mantle, linen gown, unbraided hair.
   She resolved to let what had been prophesied,

in time, pass through. The man -- an angel, if he were
   not a dream -- he who stands in the Almighty's
presence, who said beside her bed, enveloped in
   gleaming light just days ago, you shall conceive

and bring forth: his words still stung. Who was she
   but a village girl, just betrothed, a simple handmaid, 
lyre the wind plucked? Who was he? and where from?
   his skin's eerie sheen, bare breath away, serene,

out of night's silence. What he said dissolved her, 
   at first and long after, in utter, unspeakable terror.