The Virgin Mary Considers Consent by Lauren Yates

Painting by Seon-Jeong Kim

The Virgin Mary Considers Consent

They’ve found another imprint of my face on a grilled cheese
sandwich. This one’s on Ebay for thirty-six thousand, but I’ll
never see a cent. Sometimes, I wonder if this was part of God’s
marketing plan. If he chose me because my face looked best

on buttered bread. That’s why they never stoned me for being
unwed and pregnant. Any marks to my face would have ruined
the market for Virgin Mary-shaped grilled cheese makers.
And they couldn’t just replace me the way they did Aunt Vivian
on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. That may have worked for
an NBC sitcom, but not for the mother of the Son of God.

What people don’t realize is that I was born without sin.
When people hear “Immaculate Conception,” they think,
“virgin birth.” Really, only I could give birth to Jesus,
since I was born without the curse left by Adam and Eve.

I hear people talk about free will. How God could have
made us robots designed to worship him, but instead we get
to choose whether to love him. If we all have free will, then why
was I born without sin? Who decided I would be righteous?

Was it like The Truman Show? Was I an orphan adopted by a
corporation without parents to provide consent? Or, am I more
Rosemary Woodhouse. Selected by Satan to be the one to bear
his child. They say it is a blessing that I was chosen, but no one
asked me if I wanted this. I was twelve when the baby was born.

If I had asked for an abortion, would the clinic have burned
down? If I had thrown myself from the citadel walls, would
I have survived by a miracle? God, what if I had said no?
Would you have forced me to bear my own Savior?

Lauren Yates

Lauren Yates is a Pushcart-nominated poet who is currently based in Philadelphia. Her writing has appeared in Nerve, XOJane, FRiGG, Umbrella Factory, Softblow, and Melusine. Lauren is also a poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly and a member of The Mission Statement poetry collective. She is currently a Poet in Residence with the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University. Aside from poetry, Lauren enjoys belly dancing, baking quiche, and pontificating on the merits of tentacle erotica. For more information, visit