Woman, it is time

Husband, it is time.

He walks ahead of my trudging animal;
his shoulders slump a bit
from the landing of my words.

The rope slackens when he stops.  He asks,
               “Are you sure?”
At my nod, he points
              “Just ahead” to torches along the outskirts.


Innkeeper, it is time.

I watch him speak to the old hunched man;
his hands reach for coins
to place in eager wrinkled palms.

He returns at my breath hitch.  He says,
              “The manger.”
As I nod, he wraps
              “Soon, warmth” a blanket around my shoulders.


Mother, it is time.

I crouch in the posture of birth,
my belly hardens a final time
to deliver the promise by Gabriel.

I hear the cry.  Joseph says,
             “A man child.”
In my nod, he whispers,
             “Emmanuel” a cloth around the baby.


My King, it is time.

I awaken to the murmurs of visitors,
men young and mature
who smell of sheep and pasture.

The youngest speaks.  He says,
           “The star guided us.”
When I nod, he bows
           “Hosanna” his staff raised to my son.

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