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Gail White: Two Poems

Painting the Annunciation | Lapsed Catholic Watches the Super Bowl

Painting the Annunciation

For Mary, I would need a Jewish girl
Out of Burne-Jones—
Oval face, huge eyes, and long straight hair.
She's dressed in shades of blue.
The crucial moment doesn't find her idle,
Pottering with flowers.
More likely she'd be sewing, setting the table,
Or lighting Sabbath candles.
Then there's a breath of wind—
She turns her head
And there stands Gabriel in flaming Nikes,
Wings poking through his snow-white sweatshirt.

And what a line he has!
God's peeling off in layers like an onion,
One layer coiling through the air,
Headed for her.
He sings this message like a wet glass
Under your finger.
She stands there stunned but believing,
Repeating his words under her breath.
You sense that in one more minute
He'll be airborne.
When he disappears,
She can start to panic.

Lapsed Catholic Watches the Super Bowl

Those who fast come to God
with the digestion of angels.
Transparent as shrimp, they swim
in transfiguring light.
They live on clouds and communion wafers,
the occasional locust, the odd
piece of honeycomb found in a tree.
In the circle of Grace they know all the angles.
Their every breath is a hymn.
They have grown beyond appetite.

Those who fast come to God
in the bodies of Adam and Eve.
They do not know they are naked.
They are perfect as altered cats.
While the rest of us crawl
from tree to tree, hearts raked
with longing for fruits out of reach—
they can live on the smell of leaves
and the wood of the Cross.

So Mother Jerome would teach
her captives in Catholic School
back when there was no Super Bowl
and no microwave popcorn.
It was years before I concluded
that Christ wasn't counting the tacos,
and Budweiser was good for the soul.

Poet's Biography:
  GW lives on Bayou Teche with Arthur, Daisy, and Pushkin (the last 2 are cats). She has edited 3 anthologies and her latest book is The Price of Everything. She has been published in LIGHT, THE FORMALIST, PIVOT, & many other magazines, and has work on-line at The Hypertexts and

© 1999 - 2005, by the poets featured herein.