So tonight we carol again squinting
at words by candlelight: betwixt
an ox and a silly poor ass,
and (louder) mortal flesh keep silence.

Animal warmth in this darkness rises
among us with each singer’s breath, as shadows
suggest great slumbering beasts
whose fur brushes us with peace and eases

our way to believe Incarnatus est.
Bodies and beast-shadows sway and grow still.
No one startles as candle
flames tongue air that now seems alive. Breathing. Blessed.