Those Magi

January 18, 2019

—hijacked into foil-gilded greeting cards,
sung into libretti over organ chords. Sultans
or astrologers?  They trekked into the unknown
on a hunch, launched out from some far land
of distress or empty comforts looking for a shred
of truth, or inspiration, through an aperture
of prophecy. Did they seek liberation, or simply
a moment to see into the ultimate? No matter
they tumbled into a tyrant’s path, beneath a comet’s
tail, stumbled into more misery: an outcast couple
and infant sheltered in a cattle-scented shed. Yet
these Magi still show up at the center of the story,
coax us out of the mire of our own luxury. They bucked
the pressure to simply save their skins, discovered
a light, not just a star streaking through ancient skies.
Whatever stirred in the slim incense of cow breath—
a revelation in sheep-swaddled straw—bid them leave
their treasure behind. Might have been his mother’s
eyes, or the silence of her still-mystified spouse
that bid them leave by another route, hearts changed.