The tree enthroned in the living room
winks a coded message in mini lites,
to the magi marching east to west along
the mantel toward the ceramic infant
wide awake between kneeling
mother and father, both clean and pert
despite the travel and childbirth ordeal.
But those unwise wise men are heedless;
a different light draws them to the crib.
Is it star the divine parent of this
incarnation has fixed above the babe
to reveal, like an X on a treasure map,
the very spot where he may be found?
Or is it the fire in the breasts of a trio
of fools who must be first to discover
and name the newest wonder?
Either way, they neither slow nor turn
and by their fervor to witness, lead the
furies of the mortal king to other boys
asleep on the hay.
Donkey and cow, sheep and shepherds
peer through painted eyes at the holy child
and behind them all, in the darkest of
Christmas shadows, stand figures
of empty-armed women, with blood
of the slain on their ashen cheeks.
©Dana Hughes 12.5.20