Enjoy my poetic version of the original Christmas story. I wrote it poem-style because prose would have made a much longer entry.
They were on their way to go stand in line
at a government office, to fill out forms
and pay taxes. She was probably relieved
to get out of town and away from the rumor mill.
And—let’s be honest—he may have been ambivalent.
Many hours into the trip, she knew the labor had begun.
She wanted to stop then and there,
cast a blanket in a secluded spot and be done with it.
He didn’t think it would be safe, not on this road,
with so many people moving around.
It was the first time she got really angry with him.
And he thought they could stay at his cousin’s
but who knew the place would be full of other relatives?
He saw how stung she looked at their inhospitality,
he knew she thought of her mother and aunts,
and the midwife who would not be there.
The woman who did help was a stranger and reeked of onions.
Just outside an argument erupted over a game of dice,
men’s thick voices crowding the night air. Then more
disturbance when goat herders walked into camp, filthy
and stinking and babbling about angels. What a racket,
their pounding on doors, eliciting curses.
But they found the child and grew peaceful.
Suddenly they seemed wise and good, and no one
could mistake their awe or miss how they wept—
those grown, impoverished men trembling ecstasy.
To be truthful, the parents were so weary
they did not think much about any of it then.
After months and years had rolled on by
they remembered the graces of that night
and were amazed.
—Vinita Wright, 2009