Mary Tells Him the News

Beneath nets of shadows woven
by a waning moon, she bows
her head, breath hinged in her throat,
stuck between truth and a prayer: “Please
let him understand. Let him believe.”

She hopes he has missed her,
wanted her, these past three months. 
She plucks an imaginary insect
from the bark of a cedar tree.
“I’m with child,” she whispers

and waits: for scorn, a slap,
a cry for sharp stones.
But there is only darkness,
no longer molded by his heartbeat.
Days later, as sand sucks down

the last of the abiding rains
and lilies of the valley erupt
from rough bulbs, he returns,
the word "wife" on his lips. Her heart
lifts higher than the stars can climb.