Major Madonna

— Barbara Saxton

The mother’s spirit appears as a white bird. —Chinese fairy tale

Mary, did you lose any sleep
when you found out your son
planned to major in martyrdom?
Did you try talking him out of it,
perhaps suggest a safer subject
(like anthropology)? After all,
careers as a Savior are so
vastly overrated!

Show me somewhere in the Bible
where his disciples insisted the world
would be better with him in it, not floating
on some wispy white clouds
or sitting at his deadbeat dad’s
big right hand. And Mary, why weren’t you
out canvassing Calvary, dismantling tall crosses,
confiscating huge hammers and nails,
shredding loincloths, and uncrowning thorns?

Instead, sacred art paints you captive
in your blue grief-hemmed robes,
calm brown eyes downcast, as if the labors
of childbirth, all that feeding and bandaging
of wounded knees and egos, were suffered
just so He could go self-destruct for an ungrateful world’s
filthy sins.

I’d sure as hell channel some pieta-ness
if I thought Someone up there gave the tiniest of craps
for a poor mother’s feelings!
On less hallowed ground, I’ll check under tombstones somehow
left unturned in my fight to save him
from Himself.

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