A cup of water

A village woman stands at the periphery,
a jug of water balanced on one hip.
She holds her daughter’s hand
until the young girl, bored watching
the scene in front of her,
pulls free to chase a lamb.

The woman waits for her moment
to slip between the important men
uttering prayers, slides an earthen
cup from a fold in her skirts
and fills it with cool water.

The new mother, mouth dry from
laboring in the dusty stable,
welcomes the woman’s gift
with outstretched hands.

She pushes aside the pouch
of gold, a vial of myrrh,
the pungent frankincense, and
pats the empty space beside her.

Tree Top

My bedding is soft,
the batting warm,
and I am snugged in tight
between Teddy Bear toting his snare drum
and Mrs. Claus offering a cookie.

We lay in the dark infinitum,
and I forget. Well.
I never really forget,
but I put the thought away until that day,
when suddenly we shift and sway.

I feel the sense of rising
and I know it’s beginning.
Honking noises – what I’ve been told is laughter –
alarm me. I hear scraping sounds, and then,
oh, the light pours in.

The comforting weight lifts off of me. I want to cry,
“Teddy, don’t go. Don’t leave me, Mrs. Claus.”
But I am mute with terror. Crumpled tissue,
my last shield, peels away,
and I look into the shining, gleeful eyes of my tormentor.

She lifts me, she peers at me, fluffs me, appears so caring,
then – up she steps, higher than a being should ever be.
She reaches even higher – HIGHER – past garish lights,
past my friends hanging in frozen silence,
and my heart plummets deeper than the depths of endurance.

But oh, to reach the tree top,
where she nestles me amongst sturdy branches.
I look through eyes of jet black bead
and become part of the glorious light.
Just so, it’s hard to be an angel
when you’re afraid of heights.