by Paul Hooker

Suppose it was not an angel,
but dust-mites floating in a shaft of light,
an idle breeze billowing the curtain,
whispering the wild and wordless wonder 
of the ages. 
Suppose it was not a message 
from a god no one has ever claimed to see 
and from whom only madmen claim to hear
such promises as these to strain the limits
of belief,
but only a poor girl’s fantasy
who had no sense of natural causation
and no better explanation near to hand
than godly violation of the sanctum
of her womb.
Tell me, could you blame her
for telling such a tale and, tale once told,
believing it with all the heart she had,
relying on the growing evidence
of her belly?
And if she believed it,
kept it in her heart, then why not we?
Why not the world—can it not always use
a god or two who yield up life in service
of the holy?
Here am I, she said,
a statement less of certainty than hope.
And wondering if we could say as much,
we follow at a distance on the road
to Bethlehem.