"Is Jesus still alive?" my niece whispers to my sister,
unconvinced by the pomp and ribbons
of the decorated tree before us,
o holy night carollers trembling song,
dark-robed minister and his simple good grin.
"He was a good man, and that's
why we celebrate his birthday,"
is my sister's ecumenical reply.
We have talked about this, and agree about
the man, the story, the not believing.
I am not guilty as this litany assumes,
wasn't born bad, have not gone,
owe no apology to some Great White Father King,
but the congregants recite,
in the glow of electric popcorn balls,
30-watt savior device in the popsicle creche,
My nephew and niece are invited to the menagerie,
handed a small stuffed donkey, plaster lamb
to add to the crowd in attendance at the celluloid babe's cribside,
after the second hymn, second verse, O Little Town tonight.
They don't know the words,
and we are so distracted by the lights and burgundy and
gold on the tree tumbling into our laps
that they almost miss their cue.
Yes, Jaimee', there is a Jesus,
and he lives as surely as Christmas returns,
with or without the snow you missed,
without blame, even without faith,
He fills the pantry for the poor that
the minister says is bare already, only December.
He carries the souls of the suddenly light into the next act.
He lays in the bed of straw, patiently waiting for his attackers
to come with their gifts, to cover the earth in gold,
surround the barn in a cloud of frankincense,
lubricate his small limbs with myrr
for the sleep of
for they are blessed.