In embered darkness, hours after birth,
my ear catching the baby’s feathered breath,
beside the manger, huddled on the earth
her sleeping form I watch. How close to death
this girl, this woman, mother, maiden, wife,
approached, on this bleak, brutal midnight blest,
a cave our only shelter, I midwife,
my reddened hands gripping her child divine,
delivering this miracle to life,
its body tangled in a thorny vine
of blood, and gentle Mary faintly screaming—
oh! I felt, would that the blood were mine.
She, later, holding him, young-aged eyes beaming,
kissed his brow and guessed the sorrow’s meaning.
© December 2015, Rachelle Ferguson