Of a Man Sleeping in a Motley Turban

By Roy Dean Doughty
Written 12/19/07

Now the nights are forbiddingly cold,
Their skies a chaotic welter of too many tiny stars.
But we can imagine him, when he was alone,
In bright sunshine, almost blind, but moving
Lurchingly with that characteristic uncertainty
Indicative of searchers. The bizarre is crowded,
And he is buffeted about by hawkers hawking their wares,
By hagglers haggling for the last shekel,
By poorly attended children and pugnacious
Donkeys, one old man, timidly limping
Through the mob. He did not know anything
Back then of the others who lived inside of him,
Or of the manger with its reeking, humble beasts,
Or of the baby with the pierced white hands.
He only knew that his search had brought him
This far, and that whatever he bought here,
At whatever cost, this would be his final purchase.
He found myrrh, and bargained poorly for it,
Buying eternity dearly. That night he would dream
Of all his former selves, threaded together
Like the massive golden ingots of Caesar’s necklace,
And of a corpse wound in frankincense,
So that it remained fresh, like a newly cut flower
On its cold, stone slab. With these others,
He knew he was nearly ready for his journey,
And he awakened with a great joy starring his east,
The cry in his throat, a newborn infant’s cry.

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