Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence



By Judith Sornberger

Thirty-six, and not a son
or daughter to her name.
Does she want one?
Her mother told her
angels bring us babies.
In her dream they flew through sunrise,
pink and blue tufts streaming
from their icy morning wings.
Aunt Jenny had no children.
Didn't the angels like her?

She lifts crystal angels
from a tissue paper cradle,
arranges them under this year's
Christmas tree – a tumbleweed.
Yes, she is tumbling, drifting…
Wasn't there something
she wanted to ask for?
She sets up the papier-mâché crèche
next to the angels, like dolls
under the tree, a new baby each year,
the way she thinks it must be
for women without choices.

Has she made a choice?
Or is she waiting for someone
with a beautiful name like Gabriel
to tap her on the shoulder?
She wraps the tree in white
lights and tinsel like a bride.
All night it will say "O"
in the black window.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 64, No. 1 (Spring 1990), pp. 52-53


Judith Sornberger

Judith Sornberger is the author of one full-length poetry collection, Open Heart (Calyx Books), and five chapbooks, most recently Wal-Mart Orchid, winner of the 2012 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize. The Hard Grammar of Gratitude won the 2010 Tennessee Chapbook Competition. My other three chapbooks are: Judith Beheading Holofernes (winner of the Talent House Press chapbook contest), Bifocals Barbie: A Midlife Pantheon (Talent House Press), and Bones of Light (Parallel Press), in which this poem, "Preparations," also appears. A prose memoir The Accidental Pilgrim: Finding God and His Mother in Tuscany is forthcoming from Shanti Art Publications.

Return To TOC