Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nativity


I saw a girl once
in a gas station in the desert
where we stopped dusty, frustrated and tired
To duck in from under the stars glitt'ring out of cold
Into the dirt and grease of old chips
And exorbitant stale crackers and wish we were back
On the road as soon as we'd stepped in.
We were maneuvering people just to stand
long in line for gray-peeling dirty stalls
in a tiny dim-light room where crumpled papers
scattered floor, and flies buzzed low.
She was kneeling on cement with child
in front of her to change wet for dry
practically in public out of respect for the line
which stretched clear to the refrigerators in the back.
"I wouldn't do it," was muttered behind me
Road-sharp voice, "why doesn't she just use the
back seat of her car?" The baby in her patience
stood with sleepy-wide brown eyes and thick black locks
hanging shining in her face quiet and bewildered.
And I thought of inn walls straining fit to burst
and a child laid squalling into straw and hay
So I only could see grace in that woman's shamelined face.


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