In the straw burrow farm mice.
Get a little closer and you’ll see
Nits in baby Jesus’s hair, lice,
And a house snake in the olive tree.
There’s beer on the breath of the three
Sage men sitting under the olive tree,
Playing games of cribbage,
Ushering in a new age.
The pieces are swaddled in wool.
Mary’s breast-feeding the baby Jesus.
Joseph takes out his tools
To build a bed before the night freezes.
Mary wipes Joseph’s brow,
The wise men questioning how,
Talking to Joseph about what he did,
And what in the end might be in the crib.
From an East Side Bus
The lurching bus crowds forward,
dogs away from the curb broken under
the plum tree overarching the shelter.
The bus thrashes on, wobbling
in a fit of leaf blowing, phlegmatic coughing.
The young, motley couple
(we see them every day lately),
their rusted stroller full
of plastic blankets,
empty bottles, and crushed cans,
sleeps on the bench in the bus shelter
covered with plums and damp purple leaves.
“Epiphany” appeared in Rocinante, Spring 2009, Vol. 8