POETRY: Incarnation by Lynn Ungar

Incarnation by Lynn Ungar

The trees have finally
shaken off their cloak
of leaves, redrawn
themselves more sternly
against the sky. I confess
I have coveted this
casting off of flesh,
have wished myself
all line and form, all God.

I confess that I am caught
by the story of Christmas,
by the pronouncement of the Spirit
upon Mary’s plain flesh.
What right did the angel have to come to her
with the news of that
unprovided, unimaginable
birth? What right
had God to take on flesh
so out of season?

When Mary lay gasping
in water and blood
that was of her body
but not her own
did she choose one gleaming,
antiseptic star to carry
her through the night?

The flesh has so few choices,
the angels, perhaps, none.
The trees will shake themselves
and wait for spring.
The angels, unbodied, will clutch
the night with their singing.
And Mary, like so many,
troubled and available,
will hear the word:

The power of the Most High
will overshadow you

and in her flesh, respond.

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