Emotional Gaps

Emotional Gaps December 23, 2011

The Bible has what I consider to be many emotional gaps. Places where the text keeps plodding along without comment on the complex feelings the people in the story must be experiencing. I like to write poetry about these emotional gaps in order to understand what is happening in the inner landscape of those inhabiting the story. I wrote this to read at the Christmas Eve community gathering tomorrow at my church, Solomon’s Porch, and hope some of you may enjoy it as well.


They realized Zechariah had seen a vision in the temple, for he gestured to them and couldn’t speak. When he completed the days of his priestly service, he returned home. Afterward, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant. She kept to herself for five months, saying, “This is the Lord’s doing. He has shown his favor to me by removing my disgrace among other people.”

~ Luke 1:22-25

I am not sure
when I first knew

I would have a son.
Maybe when my husband

returned from the temple
with that hard

longing on his face.
When he loved me

so fiercely
we were full and new.

When I felt the young
man again

under aging skin.
I’m not the first

old one to conceive.
Sarah came before me.

I never asked
for a great one.

Any child would do.
In the absence

of my husband’s
voice, the silence

tells me much.
Fills me with the flutter

of something
like knowledge.

My breath
shimmers with anticipation.

My body
softens and hardens.

This sweet, heavy ache,
this ripening

of an unknown fruit
named John.

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