Mary’s long white arms
lift the baby high above her head.
He is seated in her palms, a pose
precarious—his head droops,
an eerie portent of the cross.
Through the open doorway
shepherds mosey closer
with their crooks. The mule
slobbers grain from the trough.
Blue shadows ring Joseph’s eyes.
Light sleeper. Keeper of dreams:
the intense maternal joy,
the pivotal birth. Mary’s
chin set, triumphant, determined
as the star. See how it owns
the sky. On the infant’s face
a benevolence rewarding her Fiat.
Everything quietly breathing
in and out. Unseen, the tree.
Unseen, the bird in the leaves
singing like an angel.