A 14th Century Maiden Confronts a Visitor

(The Annunciation, Simone Martini, egg tempera on wood, 1333)

Crouch not near with your olive branch;
Your red wings have broken my peace
And your alien, carefully chosen words
Stamp soldierly in gold leaf
Across my demonstration of lilies.

Be not afraid, you say. But

Do you bring blessing or a curse?
God is bearing down upon me
So that I may bear God up
And you are his bewitching face –
Is this how Eve felt in the first place?

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