My mother didn't call me on my birthday
which shouldn't come as a surprise
she never does
birthday or no
and given that I'm now thirty-three years old
the same age Jesus was when he undertook his great work
dying
after being conceived immaculately
and becoming a carpenter
and having a dalliance with Mary Magdalene
and forgiving people for all sorts of sins
and teaching them not to throw stones and so forth
I know very little about it
I wasn't raised in the Christian faith
nor any other for that matter
nor would I even say I was raised
but more sown and then left to reap myself
maybe that's why I have always felt a particular affinity
for Wyeth's painting Christina's World
the crippled woman lying in that far field
bereft
suspended in ocherous grass before an ominous
New England farmhouse
seemingly incapable of moving forward
or backward for that matter
who knows what went on in that house
or how she got on her knees that way
it's impossible to say
but any fool can see
she is alone
given that I'm now thirty-three years old
I shouldn't take it so much to heart
when my mother doesn't call on my birthday
or I should imagine other possibilities
like when my friend says maybe the power went out
in the town in Vermont where she lives
which might affect the phone lines
and even the internet
but why would the power go out I ask
to which he speculates
there was a windstorm
and I think this imagining is truly admirable
I want to believe it
I do