Ilyse Kusnetz


Let’s face it, this isn’t the first time
a god has foisted himself upon a woman.
In Jan Prevoost’s version, with one
hand outstretched, the angel Gabriel
drops his bombshell: see this dove, yea
he is really the son of God and will soon
be checking into your holiest of virgin
His coffee-and-cream wings coy,
furled, I imagine him requesting her
forbearance at a time like this, then
apologizing for the pun (even angels
sometimes cannot resist a good pun).
Meanwhile, Mary gazes non-plussed
at what should be a delicate
white bird, a pure symbol, except
in its impervious, amniotic
golden bubble, levering slowly down
those piercing cables of light
like a tram full of divinity,
Prevoost’s dove more resembles
a chicken, stubby-winged and beaked,
awkward in its sac, as if it couldn’t fly
without God’s express assistance.
What can I say? You wanted 

doves in their alluvial grace,
a fanfare of trumpets? Let’s face it.
Sometimes it’s the chicken
who brings us the news – every flawed,
graceless thing we must
take into ourselves and transform.

Ilyse Kusnetz
“L’Annunziazione” first appeared in Cimarron Review, Issue 167, Spring 2009.