Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Peter C. Venable- A Poem

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, remembering 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. Her face grimaced like his.
The couple collapsed on straw, dung, and droppings.

His dreams were rocked with groans like hers.

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.
Rising, he dragged an empty feeding trough to the couple
and folded his mantle inside.

Glancing outside, what was this glimmering shaft

aiming at the cave’s maw?

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