Joseph still couldn’t understand
what the mystery was all about.
He’d been there when the contractions
shook her small frame, when she wailed,
and dug her fingers into his arm—called out
his name, then her water broke.
He slept beside her on the straw, waited for hours
until the screaming child came into the world,
gazed deep into his eyes, then placed him
between his mother’s breasts, soothing
his cries, and while she was falling
asleep, cleaned them up, cut the cord.
Now there were strangers from all over
the countryside coming into the cave
filling the air with more raw animal smells,
shepherds, sinners, and other neer-do-wells,
who were either drunk or mad,
claiming they’d seen visions
of heavenly hosts of angels, bright
as the moon over the Sea of Galilee.
Joseph shook his head, rocked the manger,
still waiting for the miracle that he’d been promised
when God held his finger and gurgled.
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