Friday, December 23, 2016

Poetry Friday: "Mary's Sonogram"

This time of year often takes me back to the days of my sister's sonogram.  Not the routine holiday memory, I know.

I didn't actually see the sonogram in December of 2005, but we had just arrived for a holiday visit, and the whole family went out to dinner on the night that she had it.  I think the grandparents were allowed to be in the room during the sonogram too, if they promised to keep the gender a secret.

We travelled to the dinner after the sonogram with my parents.  It was just a few days before Christmas, so we had the Advent narrative ringing in our heads:  the angel Gabriel appearing to Mary, her response.  I remember my father saying, "What if sonograms had been invented then?  What if Mary could have had a sonogram to see Jesus before he was born?"

That idea haunted my head for weeks, and I began to fashion it into a poem.  I worried that it might seem irreverent, disrespectful of both Mary and all parents.  But I think that some of the best ideas feel dangerous in that way, and they're worth pursuing, since they might lead to a new perspective.

On these days that take us to Christmas, my thoughts often return to Mary, that soon-to-be mother, and all parents.  My thoughts return to the wonder of life and how amazing it is that any newborns survive--we start out so fragile and tiny.

Here's my poem:

Mary’s Sonogram

All children appear otherworldly in the womb,
a strange weather system come to disrupt
the world as we have known
it, to rain blessings on unsuspecting souls.

On a sonogram, all children resemble angelic messengers.
They appear in ghostly
shades of green and gray and black.
Complete with fingers and a cosmic
heartbeat, this great mystery, birthed
in passion, sweat and tears,
a bath of body fluids,
and nine months later, a baby
squeezes from the womb, blinking,
staggering us all with wonder.

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