It's Christmas season, and Christmas is in the air and on my mind. I'm still smiling like a little kid at the snow each time it falls, and I'm cutting out paper snowflakes and listening to Christmas music all the time. It's wonderful.
I'm also writing Christmas poems.
This poem, in particular, was written for my Church. I get to read it as part of the worship service on Sunday and share a little of my love for Christmas, and the renewal it brings. So enjoy, a poem for advent.
Esperamos (We Wait)
This nativity is missing baby Jesus,
as Mexican nacimientos often are.
I have hidden him in my jewelry box:
his tiny clay face and swaddling clothes
of rainbow embroidered rebozo.
I am waiting for Christmas Eve
before I slip him back into place
between Mary and Joseph’s matching robes.
Until then the nativity hardly breathes,
each hand-made figure staring at the empty space.
Mary looks lost behind her veil and
I think the shepherd might start crying
onto her gold-painted staff.
I fit myself in beside the sheep and
wonder why I am not holding my breath.
I forget what it means to wake up—
legs sore from following the crowd,
asking for posada, somewhere to stay—
and find the infant born at last,
cradled in hay, smelling like burro, changing
everything. Now, childhood anticipation
has vanished somewhere in the heavy air.
I forget that change is mine, too,
that I am staring at an empty space, waiting,
at times unaware what I am waiting for.
I begin counting particles of dust
on the nativity’s clay foundation;
I start to think it is the only reason
I’m standing here. The baby reminds me.
This nativity is fragile clay shapes,
easily broken; I am fragile clay,
already cracked. We wait for baby Jesus,
but he is not clay and cloth, not constrained
to dusty plates or dirty stables and he
is already here, waiting for us.