middle school shepherds,
eighth grade angels;
wise men with asbestos beards,
mary and joseph, from the senior class.
Standing on church steps, surrounding
a plastic baby jesus,
for the benefit of passersby;
because grace comes packaged from
time to time
in felt robes over tennis shoes.
People come and stand in the cold,
in sub-freezing temperatures,
where the scene is illumined
on church steps
by two hundred watt bulbs,
accompanied by Handel.
The experience is in the story told;
sometimes the nativity story,
sometimes the story of admiration
for lost youth,
sometimes in the personal acquaintance
of the viewer with the viewed.
One is a mother, one wishes to be a lover,
two teach magi in high school.
Each takes a tale home,
though each tale is different.
Yet, the storytellers use no words,
pose, as if frozen, in freezing weather,
and the stories that the hearers take,
are stories the viewers bring to the tale.