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Mary

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My mother is obsessed with reading about Jesus these days.

I see books piled by her bed, most of them borrowed from my library: novels, handbooks, sectarian polemics, writers coming to blows. Sometimes when I’m passing by her room she calls on me to step between them and resolve their disputes. (A little while ago I came to the aid of a historian called Kamal Salibi, whose forehead had been split open by a Catholic stone.)

What a diligent reader she is when she’s searching for Jesus, this woman I never failed to disappoint: I was not martyred in the first intifada, nor in the second, nor in the third. And just between you and me, I won’t be martyred in any future intifada either, nor will 
I be killed by some booby-trapped stork.

As she reads, her orthodox imagination crucifies me with every page.... while I do nothing but supply it with more books and nails.
Source: Poetry (April 2014)

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of Poetry magazine

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Mary

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