On a December night,
our town gathered along the river park
with lawn chairs and quilts, hooded and scarved
for the Christmas boat parade:
each vessel lit double - one a reflection,
the other a vivid glimmering
against the darkness of the far shore.
From reindeer music to angel choirs,
the season boomed through speakers
strapped on decks; luminous
and intricate displays floated by,
black space between.
Out of one dark silence,
candlelight wavered from a live nativity -
cavelike; the only sound small,
from an infant.
The woman had lifted it
in pramsuit and cap, rocking,
but the cries continued, fluent and clear
across waters and the hushed shore.
The lamb and ewe tethered off-side
stirred and paced, looking soundward.
Then - from the lamb - a tremulous call,
again and again...
and the baby stilled,
the crowd ashore applauded
as the scene moved and vanished,
bleating, into night
and a flicker of memory.