The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son. …
Then Mary said,
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word.”
– Luke 1:28-38
This is a story of Mary consenting to enter into a disreputable condition, trusting that despite all appearances she is entering into holiness.
you said Yes
you said Yes
to your mother seizing you by the wrists, yelling into your face
demanding to know who did this to you — to your father
weeping as you had never seen him weep, asking what he had done
that you would turn out like this, that you would do this to him.
Mary, teenage girl with the unplumbed brown eyes
Mary, hailed full of grace by a heavenly being
you said Yes to disgrace, to excommunication,
to childhood friends abandoning you, to the isolation
of no “decent person” daring to associate with you.
and as your body transformed in wondrous ways —
God’s feet forming, kicking, making
a rich round hill of your stomach,
God dependent, sustained by naught but a flimsy cord
connecting Them to you,
God! growing, becoming in the darkness of your womb!
— most did not celebrate with you.
your joy grew as your body changed,
and their snide comments, harsh stares
could not pierce your euphoria
— except for sometimes, when they did.
and for those sometimes,
when the rejection was too much, when
you crumpled at your bedside
weeping, shouting to God and whispering to Them
begging to know why your neighbors’ hearts are so hard,
why your father cannot be moved to share your joy,
my heart aches with its fullness of empathy for you
and you for me – empathy sharp as a sword
or maybe a needle: pricking, piercing,
and stitching back into wholeness –
so that when i came to you on my knees that night
sorrowful and scared and begging you to be
my Mother still, begging you not to disown
your queer little not-girl,
you bent down and picked me up, your soft strong arms
shielding me from the world’s stares, your soft calloused hands
loosening the rope around my neck, and you whispered
soft and fierce, I am your Mother, I am
Mother to all like you, and I will not let any
who run to me be destroyed.
Queer Mother! – a motherhood thicker than
blood, deeper than the waters of the womb,
a relationship fashioned by a shared Yes
to disgrace, a fervent Yes
to the hard but healing path to holiness –
Mama, my Mama, i run always to you
and you give me the strength to shout with all my might
God! let it be done to me according to your word!
If you this piece it in your own service, please credit it to Avery Arden and link to binarybreakingworship.com. I also invite you to email me at email@example.com to let me know you’re using it!
About this poem: This is one of my favorite poems from my collection The Kin(g)dom in the Rubble, which you can purchase here.