The Birth of the Virgin, circa 1627
Gathered taffeta curtains frame the birthing scene.
Recumbent, tucked in blood red flannel,
Anne sags into her bedclothes, oblivious
to offers of consommé and sweet loaves
from her girdling attendants. Linens cascade
down shoulders, pour out from the hamper’s lip
unstained. Mary mews, hearty in the midwife’s arms.
Uninvolved in the slow commotion, aglow in blue
and mustard organdy, a patron meets Zurbarán’s gaze.
Her widow’s peak pronounces rank and age.
She poses crimson-cheeked, laden with gifts:
a chest, a basket. Her eggs intact.
Christina Lloyd's work appears in various journals, including Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme and The North. She is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing through Lancaster University.
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