In my far youth
it never crossed my roving mind
I’d meet a Jesus girl with Mary child
just east of Alcatraz,
smiling wistful at the warden doves,
too fat, too zoo-content
to loft the olive branch
and navigate their mission
away from San Francisco Zoo:
what still lives? is free?
anywhere, anywhere at all?
A quest Noah might once
have set them to.
Ark afloat in sea of concrete,
ribs parallel in permanence,
greenbronzing in the briny air,
spaced wide enough to see the animals,
close enough to keep them there.
Outstretched San Franciscan palms enfolding
captive ones, and twos and threes,
I’d never conjured such a lovely girl
before I came upon her, captive of the cages,
nor met her in my masturbating mind
in my far youth during the first rains
when floods were drenching sweats,
while Atlantis thrived, submerging,
long before this dry and sunbald Sinai.
I never dreamt she’d come with me
and end up sleepless in a Monterey motel
embedded with a blinking neon
shuttered by venetian blinds,
drifting on the Styx in depthless fog,
this Jesus girl with Mary child.
Her redemption was enough to tip us all
from such a tiny boat too small for three.
To save her from saving me,
the two of them as well,
it was my first task to not drown
then try to turn the craft around.
My hand at first outstretched
across two continents: double double beds,
the furthest rims of flat and antique earth
to help her hold the far, sharp edge,
to keep them both from slipping off
and dragging me along,
I held her hand till dawn.
The Marychild, asleep at peace
within the virgin’s rigid arms, she,
humming as if it were a vice,
singing were a sin,
the child aglow between us
with halo of ticcing neon.
She spoke with her husband, god,
beckoned at his glow in foggy light
and opened to receive him,
the father of her child:
her only proof of purity.
She, dark, without a hole of light,
refusing rudder, fighting oar,
close as peanuts in a roasting shell.
I held tight to her who held the Marychild,
to hold the baby safe.
She begged the loosening of my grip,
to share salvation with me in eternity.
I preferred that Jesus come to us,
then follow him in all this fog.
That Jesus was a carpenter
confused her in her Trinity
even when he drove the last nail in
as she stood surrogate for him
upon the cross she chose to share.
It hurt to see her bleed so freely
from the wound within her eyes.
I tried to pull that spike from her
while she, herself a bony cross,
was wrapped like shroud
around her Marychild.
I probed the wound and could not heal it.
She believed god had begat her child
and Jesus was her brother.
Thus: her fractured Trinity
which took all her glue
to try to hold together.
One and one and one, that’s three;
ask any Christian, he will tell you.
Plus Jesusgirl and Marychild
is five to any atheist or Muslim.
She broke her silence
in search of mentor or convert
feeling need to tell her truth:
Her brother was her lover,
the father of her child,
got to her before her god;
though in her mind
it wasn’t god got sloppy seconds
because she wouldn’t dare do that to him.
Because god was number one
must mean her daughter
was stepsister of God’s only son.
But Jesus was her lover, too;
all the nuns said so,
as did her memory.
She was having trouble
holding all this in her mind at once
and, so, was spilling over.
I was being careful not to get
any of it on me.
When contradiction pressure
had its way with her
she had her way with me
till I was shriveled with her willing,
though not as missionary,
probing for the splinter
broken off so deep within her
prolonged within stigmata,
beyond endurance, far from prayer
while she was working steadfast
to assert her own conversion
by converting me,
scuttling me to save her soul
in her ceremonial font
blending her catharsis
with my ritual baptism.
As an encore, she changed
the costume of her self.
She fought and bit in the half-light
evoking all her darknesses and spells.
Her eyes began to roll around,
her language lapsed to tongues.
She cradled me in turns,
schizophrenically, I suppose,
a descriptive term at least,
while gently rocking Marychild.
The Jesus that was in her
wanted to come out
and the woman that was in her
wanted him to come again,
wanted me to be her Jesus,
but only in the dark,
but the neon kept on burning,
for the mother made ayearning
for the lover to forgive her,
to love her and her child
who was her brother’s,
not her god’s,
a canker on their family tree.
Finally she let me in
thorny Jesus with my tongue,
my sharpest knife when reason fails,
probing out her brother’s prick,
that rotting splinter,
from her once and future virgin cunt.
I did my best to love her,
but Jesus got there first.
Noah's Ark -- Marie Jonsson-Harrison