Mid-Winter morning. A befuddled kitten

marvels at the fallen whiteness, and the pawprints

that seem to follow her everywhere. A junco,

perched on the snowy head of Francis,

patiently waits his turn at the feeder. Sunrise

in scattered angel wings flecked on a frozen pond.

Cherubim thirst for a body like yours, made of

vanished galaxies, yet casting a shadow. They

wonder how leaves feel skittering down a sidewalk,

how, when you rest in your own peculiar rhythm,

your work is stillness. They envy the way you

find the nest inside the egg, a mother's womb

encircling her savior. They worship an infant too.

Any child will do, which is the whole point, isn't it?

The triumph of birth despite the poverty of Winter light?

It happens in a Palestinian haybarn, or a tenement

in the South Bronx, the name of the baby, Miguel 

or Jesus, JaDawn or Billy Bob. If there were no Christmas, 

you would have to invent one just to remind yourself

that you were divine on your birthday too, delivered

in a sack of salt water and blood. And ah! your

breathing was thistledown, angel pollen in your hair,

God-particles in your pee-pee, bones all marrowed with gold,

potent mantras, "Ma! Dada! Kali! Ga!" erupting from

your reptilian brain, dissolving the gap between heaven

and earth in sacred burps and farts, starry spirals

blossoming from chinks between the vertebrae you

twisted and arched in pudgy asanas: the chuckling Serpent,

the dainty Plow, furrowing your pink baby fat, the hollow

Unicorn pouring moon-milk through your fontanelle...

And is this why you visit five-star ashrams?

To mimic the mudras of the newborn, to loll on a yoga mat

and recollect crib gestures, the secret sadhana of infancy:

how to suck stars through your belly button?

On this fine Mid-Winter morning, why not bow

to any baby's marshmallow toes?  

Receive the Holy Name: a giggle from her lips. 

Heavenly enough, how the triumph of last night's snow 

reposes in glistening impermanence.

Wherever this melting leads you, friend, go there.

Each breath is Mary, and just to be awake is Christ.

Painting by Joseph Mulamba-Mandangi, Congo

No comments: