Lucy Griffith: Incubation

This chill December morning
into the kitchen strides my young friend
swinging a starting-to-shred
pale yellow bag from the Dollar Store.

She usually wears her yearning for a family
like a mourning shawl, but today,
smiling, tender with awe
she withdraws a scarf from the ruined bag

with a nail-bit hand.
            This is it.
            This will do the trick.
I gather myself, then pour mint tea,
slide a cup towards her, ask

“How so?”
            This is Our Lady’s maternity sash.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe?”
            Yes. She knows just when to come.
“The one who appeared to Juan Diego?
            Yes. She loves me.
I press on, pragmatic.
“Where did you find it?”
            The Pass it On Store,
            but it is from Her.
She inhales it like a newborn.

Fecund, dark as earth, the sash is
soft woven wool.
tied in a square bow, the Nahua way,
ready for a baby to rise

beneath its drape.
In slow motion, she unties it―
threads it around her slim waist,
and with a sure hand,

Belief blazes in her eyes.
The kitchen grows warm―
the mint has faded, now

a perfume of roses swells,
to rouse me from my doubts.


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