“Convert’s Lament” by Laura Van Prooyen

Laura Van Prooyen


Oh Joseph. I never had a question about you
getting some love. Mary either, for that matter. But now
I hear there’s perpetual virginity, which might be just fine
for the Blessed Mother. She’s been rewarded with altars,
statues, mudflaps and tattoos. But who’s tattooing you?
There are few requests for Joseph the Celibate
to be needled on a bicep. The mythic allure
of an undefiled grown man just doesn’t wash.
I’m wondering if, when the angel appeared, he laid all
your luck out on the table. You didn’t seem to flinch
with the news, but did he mention Mary would be the lover
of No One and you’d get to bed down with prayer?
Sure, you’re the honorary head of the Holy Family,
and I suspect you were loyal to the cause.
But after shaking off the glow of that angel,
and the white light began to fade
did you understand that Mary would remain
the foretaste of the feast that would never come?

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004

Rattle Logo