Holy Days

We're in your bedroom and there's a collection of
Annunciation postcards on the wall, the ones you bought
in Florence, the ones friends mailed from elsewhere.
I tried to find one to send you this summer, but I
was in Boston, and there weren't any at the museum,
no trumpeting angel, no rays of heavenly light.
Instead I mailed mermaids, scrawled a note on the
back of Isabella and her pot of basil (the story,
grotesque, is in Boccaccio). But that was summer,
when it was hot and we were apart. Now the air is cool.
Today is March 25th and we're reading the newspaper,
the local one you read for fun, not for news.
We finished the crossword earlier (simple)
and now we've moved on to the calendar. Nestled between
ads for senior bowling and singles yoga, hot lunches
and choir concerts, there is this, something like an
epiphany: three days from now, "Mary Queen of Heaven,
East 56th Street between, Avenues M and N, will hold
a flea market"--so the paper says, misplaced comma
and all. I picture the Virgin, descending.
She is dressed in blue, she always is. Her skin, dewy, glows.
She hovers above the stalls of chipped teacups, old
records that nobody wants to listen to, eight-tracks that
nobody could listen to even if they wanted to.
Or would she take the subway, would she pass
for a nun riding on the B71 bus, arriving a little late,
a little flustered from the New York traffic?
I laugh, and you ask me what I'm thinking. "Oh,
the Virgin Mary on the subway," I say. You giggle,
and say with a smirk, "She gets around."

March 2004