She must be the mother,
that woman who sits beside the cradle--
her infant in innocent slumber,
her elbow resting on the rim
among the folds of thin gauze that shroud it.
Chin on her hand, she studies the child
her gaze steadfast, the way Eve
bewildered, must have beheld
Cain, then Abel. What wonder!
What future to consider.
The mother’s expression is enigmatic,
Is it hope? Concern?
Is she already anointed with the oil of doubt?
Isn’t this the unease of every mother?
Didn’t Mary, with her eternally tranquil face
and divine fore-knowledge
agonize over the infant Christ?
And the mothers of the two thieves
on their separate crosses?
Bonnie Wehle is a docent at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and facilitates a monthly discussion (via Zoom since 2020) on the work of selected poets or poetic topics. Her chapbook, A Certain Ache: Poems in Women’s Voices, was released in 2022 by Finishing Line Press. Her work has been published in Coal Hill Review, River Heron Review, Sky Islands Journal, and elsewhere. She lives in Tucson with her dog, Tillie.
The Ekphrastic Review
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