Annunciation; A Mother’s Work

by Brad Davis

ANNUNCIATION                                                                                                  Luke 1:26

Yesterday, an ordinary girl. This morning, the same birds
singing, same sun bothering me awake and here,

lying on my same mat, the same chores awaiting me –
yet I do not want to open my eyes.


I cannot love my life as I did yesterday,
before…whatever that was…the unfamiliar

old one who approached slowly and squatted opposite
as I tended the flat bread browning on the coals

who admired my skill and surprised me
by speaking of me strangely and knowing my name.

And then the proposal, terrifying. But I surprised myself
agreeing to it – no thought to mother’s wisdom,

father’s assent – and without another word,
the old one rose, bowed, turned,

and left me more alone than I have ever been.


I hear my sister stirring on her mat. She will be surprised
I am still beside her and not about my chores.

Can I tell her? And how to explain it to the man I am to wed?
What have I done? Who will listen and understand?



A MOTHER’S WORK                                                                                             Luke 21:27-28


We sleep together
outside the city
on the Mount of Olives.
Though I rise early,
he has already
left for the temple.
Every day for weeks now,
the people wait for him.
Temple leaders, too,
except to trap him.
He does not see this
ending well, but we
see the numbers growing.
The crowds love him.

We love him,
yet we are waiting –
our patience
sorely tested – for him
to spark the fire
he said he came to
bring upon the earth.
We have seen him
look across the valley
at the city and weep.
We have heard him say
not one stone
will be left on stone,
and then the new will come.

Each morning on this hill
it is my job
to rouse the others.
He will need us
to mind the crowd’s perimeter,
usher the sick and lame
into his presence
where, by the hand of God,
he makes whole
the host that he, even
greater than Gideon,
will lead to victory,
the fire of God
set upon the earth at last.

Brad Davis served as an Episcopal priest for 25 years and a boarding school chaplain/teacher for 30. While chaplain and squash coach at Pomfret School in Connecticut, he earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and won an AWP Intro Journal Award. He is the author of eight poetry collections, the most recent being Still Working it Out (2014). A chapbook won the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, and poems have appeared in Poetry magazine, Paris Review, Image, Michigan Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Brilliant Corners, Presence, and many other journals. In 2012, he edited an anthology, Sunken Garden Poetry: 1992-2011, for Hill-Stead Museum, home of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. He now lives in Putnam, CT, with his spouse Deb and their Norwegian forest cat, Mr. Bibbs.