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A CHRISTMAS POEM FROM TODD SWIFT DECEMBER 25 2013

THE MOTHER OF JESUS GAVE THE FIRST GIFT

The bruise of asking
inside genderless
the more a God demands
spreads angelic paste

the task of bearing
Christ's little weight
tastes a globe of blood
on the toying tongue

clouds boiled elsewhere
prepare their foreignness
like uneven stars
exchange air for dust

rain for a reign
the boy-child's nails
are rust by now
after the Roman taps

caress that blonde grain
the wood bore his skinny
freight well off the ground
that deserved more just

as she Mary-mother lifted
His lusty seedlings
of denatured dominion
in her privacy ruined

her swollen overbearing
flood bursting green
banks to drown
Christmastime in a tide

her fluidity of sense
and giving up, her
blunt loss the main gift
that flourishes brightly

across centuries, a snow
drift his Easter clears
but only first the good
comes, the stain under skin

healing slowly, after
an unalterable imposition
in the dizzy hayloft
among beasts and sultans

bowing to see water break
and a woman open out
to let one black hole emerge
out of fecundity into world

as if being went backwards
to roll the sun back
as a sleeve will to an arm
harm itself undone in splurge

the sack and grease
of this birth contaminating
each pried apart visitor
driven back to dull lands

immersed in a totality-virus
the entirety of creation aching
to shed and blister as if a snake
taking flight to be - up - bird


copyright Todd Swift 2013
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