12-17 Cristes Maesse

Cristes Maesse


At a limestone wall a Hebrew and two sons

hewed and shoveled out livestock space

a generation after first Hanukkah.


.           .


During his last winter, his son jammed

timber and nailed stalls for their migrations.


.           .


His great-great grandson and boy camped

with an ass, goats and sheep below roosting pigeons.

He grimaced, nailing a board—his father

among 2,000 Hebrews spiked to gibbets

in one day, a generation ago.


This night a couple begged for space in the stall.

Starlight unveiled her swollen belly.

The couple collapsed on straw, dung, droppings.


His dreams were rocked with groans.


Finally, their baby cried with him.


Wiping his eyes, he saw his boy’s waking eyes—

pale hazel dots staring outward. He kissed his cheek.


He rose, dragged an empty feeding trough to the couple

and folded his mantle inside it.


What was this glimmering shaft outside,


aiming at the cave’s maw?