Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Planned parenthood, eat your heart out! Coming to you live from the urban jungle is a woman who defies the maternal script. Maria dared to ask, “Father, what does a woman do when she cannot feed her young? When the screams become so piercing that the earth cracks beneath our home?” Joctopus, her older son by three years, said he didn’t know how the dog got in and tore up the family bed where the baby lay, screaming and quaking. “Mama, the baby stopped crying. He’s sleeping in the dog stuff.” Maria’s heart squeezed with guilt, “Father, I do not feel remorse for leaving the infant in Joctopus’s care, but will God forgive me for feeling relief there is one less mouth to feed?” The priest blessed Maria and instructed her to pray. While on her knees with her eyes squeezed shut, Maria received a vision from God: a strong baby black eagle was pecking the weaker baby black eagle to death while the mother eagle looked on, indifferent. Instantly, Maria understood and forgave her own brother; he used to laugh while waving his knife at her; he even cut her once with the same knife he used to slaughter the stolen chickens. Now a paternal voice boomed throughout the village, “Fear not. Nature’s law sees justice in siblicide. It’s a burden, I know, for those of you who are civilized and pious. It’s a great burden. Lay it down. Lay it down.” The voice faded and the vision faded and Maria felt comfort and agony. She realized she was not a desperate mother, a sinner, or a demon. A chill rose up Maria’s spine and spread through her skull. She was fathoming a whole new idea of the maternal instinct. Was that really a divine vision guiding her to take comfort in exercising her own instincts? What would the Father say if she told him?

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