. the many faces of mary . excerpt from a multimedia novel-in-progress .

He comes home, late at night, drunk in wine. He is drawling, loud for his usual, contemplative, tone, sloppy. There is a woman with him, at first I think she is a bird. The olive trees my father planted long ago are rustling in the night wind. The candle has long gone out. If I could see out the doorway, I'd watch some clouds racing past other clouds, journeying somewhere with a purpose. The stars would be veiled. The sky, the grass, the fields, all would be in flurry of the oncoming storm.

They stumble past the door, and onward up the hill, I think, maybe towards the stable. The goats and the sheep start bleating. If a pale rosy light had come through the doorway, I would have been fooled. I would have stepped out of bed and gone to let them out. But they bleat awhile.

In the morning, I get up late. The sunshine is at full blast through the doorway, and the hearth is also going. I walk into the kitchen, asleep but running. The kettle is over the stove. A broth cooking. The morning light is restless here, wanting something done.

Jesus is nowhere to be found. I step out and he is not outside, sawing and hammering. I call his name out, and return to the broth which is boiling over.

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