Detail of The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner, oil on canvas, 1898. Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.—Luke 1:35

Spirit’s message to Mary
while cryptic
was not a staccato telegram, as in
—a death has occurred
—an accident has happened
—a disease has spread
—a war has begun.

Overshadow, says the preacher,
is not a nothing word.
It’s what Spirit did to Mary.
It’s the form the message took.
It meant, Get ready. God’s coming.

It also meant
—a death will occur
—a war has begun

with Mary herself as
collateral damage.

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