Out the window, the parking lot
and beyond that, the highway.
No doubt something important
began or ended precisely there, or
there, in that spot where the ice-white
rental car is idling neatly, clouds
of exhaust billowing up like hope,
like the hope of the Christ child, silent
in his mother’s arms, finally silent
after the great yanking commotion
of birth, the donkeys steaming
outside in the moon-cold morning.
Mary, full of grace, her most radiant
and successful self, smelling the baby’s
head, touching his cheek with the back
of her finger. Finally, you’re here.
Because the windshield is fogged,
the stranger’s face is obscured
behind the wheel, though I can see
the back seat is piled high with gifts.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.