With thanks to Kathy Coffee..
–Les Noces de Cana, Louis Kahn, 1949
They have no wine, Mary says. If she says it any louder, the guests will hear and head for the door.
It’s a little indirect, but her drift is clear. She wants Jesus to do something about it.
He’s been hanging around the house for thirty years, knocking together benches and chairs. His father likes him home. The sign on the door says Joseph & Son.
The gold is long since spent on groceries, the frankincense a whiff in the walls, the mystic myrrh tossed on a shelf in the shop.
Building chairs is a good job for a son, but this son was knelt to by Persian wizards. She can be forgiven if she thinks he’s destined for greater things.
She wants him out of the house.
She says, They have no wine. And they have been thirsty since Adam.
Not yet, he says. What you ask will be free for them, but will cost me plenty. One more order of chairs…?
Soused and surly, the guests are frantic to take the edge off. Any wine will do. The old purveyors line up to supply them rotgut, smiling their oily smiles, rubbing their hands.
She thinks, not for this did the angels sing that starry night. Not for this, my darling dear, that you have a mother.
Since the day John leapt in the womb, she has been tasting it. She can taste it now: wedding wine. Bouquet of the cosmos, undertones of Eden, the finish of revolution.
She turns to the servants.
Do what he tells you.
Pour paradise on drunks.