December 6, 2010

December 6th: Jenn McCreary

6 January

psalt.  shoes.  dates & honey.  pomegranate in hand, throatful of thistles & thorns, all celebrated with like devotion.

La Befana was approached by the magi & asked for directions to where the infant Jesus was, as they had seen his star. She provided them shelter & the magi invited her to join them on the journey to find the babe, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, Befana had a change of heart & tried to search out the astrologers; she was not able to find them & is still searching. She leaves all the good children toys & candy/carmelle, while the bad children get coal/carbone &  garlic.


La Befana was an ordinary woman, with a child whom she very greatly loved who died, & her resulting grief maddened her. Upon hearing news of Jesus being born, she set out to find him, delusional that he was her own dead son, returned to her.  She presented the infant Jesus with her child's toys, which she'd wrapped & carried on her back, & the babe was delighted, & gave Befana a gift in return: she would be the mother of every child in Italy.

& so on.

In any story, there is a Befana, who is always lost. 

There is a broomstick for sweeping & riding, a bundle carried on stooped back, & shoes to be filled with candy or coal.

There are little hats in the manner of the Romans, careful slices of treasure cake & a hidden king.

There is incense & coal in the stable, figs & hay on the altar— another sweeping epic & technicolor epiphanies, exposed. 

Jenn McCreary is the author of :ab ovo:, published by Dusie Press in the spring of 2009. She is also the author of two chapbooks: errata stigmata (Potes & Poets Press), & four o’clock pocket chiming (Beautiful Swimmer Press); the e-chapbook: Maps & Legends: (Scantily Clad Press) & a doctrine of signatures (Singing Horse Press).  She lives with her husband, the writer Chris McCreary, & their twin sons in Philadelphia, where she co-edits ixnay press with Chris, works for the Mural Arts Program, & serves on the board of the Philly Spells Writing Center.

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