Orthodox Christmas Eve
What am I doing here with all these Greeks?
Hoping, perhaps, at midnight Christmas Eve,
The unintelligible tongue God speaks
Will summon even those who don't believe
To Mary's manger. Now the Virgin bears
The Master in the cave. As light through glass
He passes from her body. Joseph dares
Believe the story; I can let it pass.
The incense rises like the church's breath
Into a frosty world. This night of birth
Swells to a tide that tosses me past death.
But tides recede—I know this moment's worth.
If love of beauty were the same as faith,
I'd walk in heaven with my feet on earth.
The Price of Everything, The Edwin Mellen
Press, © 2001. Originally printed in Edge
Review. Reprinted by permission of the author.