1. Christmas Eve
cave. Fire’s chiaroscuro spit & clamor
they hang in folds, crevice of throat & eye
maw fills with dark, empty until midnight.
holy birth, but the darkness to come
into the stable—the cattle low & stamp
let them nose their way out, break for safety.
whether on your knees or squatting
to worship is to labor, as any saint knows
in water or walking
let love pour forth from you, wetting both your socks
then rest & push again
faith is like that, one step forward, one step back
keep your chin down
(that which is distant is all that is worth seeing)
whether on your side, your back
the posture of adoration is the posture of suffering
Snow swirls the night air like a nebula
He tosses on his makeshift bed
He has seen enough of open sky & stars.
He wants the splintered criss-cross of beams,
The storm-fall sifts about, each starred flake
A thin music’s strain accompanies the infant’s every breath.
The branchings of his lungs stiffen, heavy as tree limbs
Censer-like, the vaporizer offers up its menthol, its mist.
I have known nothing so well as I know this wet face,
Knead loaves of bread with milk & holy
Plant garden seeds in an egg-carton. Wait.
Warm them on the kitchen counter—
Sweep the floors with salt water. Batter &
pour a dinner of pancakes, round gold disks.
in every window. This is how light must enter
our world: sharp & bright as a sword, soul-
corded arms, consuming her like a wick.