Christmas Eve Parable and Singers, 2 poems by David Huddle

Christmas Eve Parable
Phoebe, my five-year-old granddaughter adores the tiny
wax Jesus who lies in the cradle of the creche that came
down to us from now dead great grandparents. Wise men,
Mary and Joseph, two sheep, a cow and a donkey, it sits
atop an antique chest of drawers, at the perfect height
for Phoebe to study the scene, occasionally move the humans
and the creatures as she likes, whispering softly
to them all. Two years ago Phoebe carried the Baby Jesus
in her sweaty hand all over the house until he went missing
and turned up weeks later in the covers of her bed. Phoebe
still checks in on the creche, her face joyful as she surveys
our model Bethlehem and sometimes asks one of us to sing
Silent Night with her. Off-key non-believer forgetting

the words, I can still sing that old hymn with this child.

Photo of christmas carolling figurines
Photo by Shiro Yamamoto on Unsplash
Ray Charles, Elvis, Hank Williams,
Nat King Cole, Frankie Lane, Little Richard–
For you guys I’ve been a fool since forever–
my truest teachers, my heroes, my party-
animal-uncles, my brothers, my father–
I wanted to take long car rides with you,
stop by creek-sides and sing the old hymns,
drink beer, hear your thoughts about the girls
in my English class, but it was you, girl-
singers, who taught me the sweet ache of love,
desire, and loss–Linda Ronstadt, Stevie
Nicks, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell–oh
dear ones who do the work of angels, you’ve
changed darkness to light and sung me back to life.

David Huddle
David Huddle is the author of nineteen novels, short story collections, essays, and volumes of poetry, including Glory River and Blacksnake at the Family Reunion. He teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English and the Rainier Writing Workshop. His sixth novel, Hazel, and his seventh poetry collection, My Surly Heart, were published in 2019. Originally from Ivanhoe, Va., he’s lived in Vermont for more than half his life.

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