christmastide: the morning after

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I wrote this poem several years ago, and I thought of it this morning.

the morning after

Mary rose before sunrise;
the baby was still sleeping,
as was Joseph and most of
the animals, except for one cow
who looked a little sheepish.

The shepherds were long gone.
In their excitement, they had not
cleaned up well after themselves.
The Magi were resting somewhere,
waiting for night and the Star.

But Mary did not yet know
of gold and myrrh and frankincense,
neither did she know much about
motherhood, messiahs, or
life beyond this nativity.

I am up early with a cup
of coffee and a donut
of a dog asleep in my lap;
the house is quiet. Christmas
has come and is settling in.

I know little of parenting, or
babies, or what to do with
swaddling clothes. I do know
Christ is born again, for the
fifty-eighth time in my life.

In my mind’s eye I watch
Mary turn back to the stable
when she hears her little one cry
for the first time on his first
morning; she is smiling.

My dog perks up her ears,
as though she, too, hears
the crying, and looks up at me.
“Merry Christmas,” I say, wondering
what gifts have yet to be opened.

Peace,
Milton

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