Lorenzo Lotto's Annunciation
Other approaching Gabriels offer the lily
In a ceremonial hush to humble girls
Who bow their heads or touch their breasts. She whirls
Away as the angel runs in willy-nilly
And sinks to one knee, hair streaming—as if he hurries
To get there ahead of God, who stretches His arm
From a cloud in the doorway, while the striped cat scurries
For shelter, its tail an elongated S of alarm.
Hands raised protectively, she turns to look
Straight out at us—in shock, or mute appeal?
Forgotten behind her lies the open book.
In the tumult of the divine turned terribly real,
Only her face is strangely still, the eyes
Wide with apprehension and surmise.
Annunciations, Aralia Press, ©
2001; first published in