The Immaculate Conception: (after a painting by Bartoleme Esteban Murillo)

Like a recurring dream,
you imagine the woman
clothed in white, wrapped in deep blue.
This woman balances on the crescent moon,
on the backs of cherubs and their clouds.
Her eyes are not interested in you,
not concerned with the growing mystery
you assign her: the irony of God
growing in a virgin. For now,
she needs the open space of heaven
and your intermittent vision
that will make her materialize again
and again until you get it right:
her flowing hair, her folded hands,
that hint of gold behind her back,
enveloping her like mist from God’s mouth.
Enveloping you as completely as dogma,
the genuflected knee, the thin voice
that repeats the same prayer
and gives it solid blue breath.

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