Punk Virgin Mary
She was an unwed mother, you know,
No better than she should be, hanging
Round on street corners, smoking, laughing,
Making eyes at the Roman soldiers who sometimes
Passed through the village, marching
To conquer somewhere else, since
They’d done Galilee already. An unwed mother,
And people pitied Joseph for taking
Damaged goods, sloppy seconds;
They sneered behind his back when
He set his jaw and said, “My firstborn
Is a child of God.” Child of some dirty
Soldier, more like, a Greek or Egyptian,
Uncircumcised, unclean. She wouldn’t even
Stay home, kept following her mad boy
Around the countryside, listening to him
Spout strange fables and pretend
to be a rabbi. Some rabbi him, some
Child of God, executed for a common criminal.
Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Little boys like to believe that Mommy
Loves no one else the way she loves them,
Not even Daddy, but long before a little boy
Was born or Daddy courted Mommy, Mommy
Was hanging out on streetcorners, making eyes
At soldiers, and who knows, who knows
What she did so long ago, before she got her halo?
The Virgin Mother lights a cigarette out behind
The heavenly palace and takes a deep drag.
She’ll never tell.