Gift of the Magi


And so they set out again, José and Maria,
hurried, still ill-prepared for the journey,
his tools packed in a canvas bag,
her swollen body eased up on the back
of a donkey where she winces
at each contraction. Somewhere tonight
they’ll take refuge in an abandoned shed,
hoping to escape detection,
or in some tumble-down stable, the smell
of blood mingling with the stench of cattle.
Later, sheep-herders hiding out in the hills,
keeping watch for the border patrol,
will hear the cries of a newborn baby
and come seeking their source.
Can any star shine bright enough
to pierce these overcast skies?
Is anyone wise enough to arrive here
bearing the gifts this family really needs:
food, warm clothes, papers to make everyone “legal?”