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            Michael H. Levin: Poems and Prose  

WHAT THE WISE MEN BROUGHT


Foretellings are double-faced,

mixing chance and cause

fact with belief.


Suppose they sought Herod --

the star beckons ambiguously;

they’re aliens, unused to

local customs, lacking immigrant

aid, court interpreters. Perhaps

they just stopped for a roadside


emergency, unaware

of the death decree: heralds

streamed from the palace

blaring the message in brass

and plumed helmets; the cloaked

gravid flight towards an ill-sited birth.


Let's say that’s the meaning:

orthodox gift-wrap is tinsel.

What’s holy is kindness --

the task then and now

to show up.



Version first published in Rat's Ass Review, Summer 2020