For the Advent season, two poems from h.j. Recinos.

The Season

I often wonder about how many
tears are shed when trying to make
sense of the expensive politics
planting crosses on the side of
the road to keep company some
day with the towered wall planned
with deaf selling walks. little is
ever said of Bethlehem happening
in these parts, the wrenching hate
spilling from so many tongues, the
citizens lurking in the dark believing
the divine illuminating day and night
does not see. I often wonder about
the meek of the earth knocking on
the door wailing who are misjudged,
why the lovely carols we sing pass
overhead this wretched flesh, and
why so much godly chanting rarely
delivers peaceful dreams to the flock
beyond the gate. tell me what is the
meaning of this season, will the lowly
truly rise or Herod’s kin lay hope in
final rest? tell me, how many fires
will be made today to commit the good
book to flames? will the mighty work
be done? tell me, when light disappears
what comes next?

Miracle ©

through the falling snow
the buses rushing by the
only synagogue left on the
street, I saw the figure of
a poor old woman bent
over making her way across
the avenue, to the edge of
the sidewalk, where she
stood idle before raising
one foot over the curve.
she looked familiar to me
by the hunched shoulders,
the slow steps behind a two
wheeled grocery cart, her lips
talking with nobody, and the
look in her eyes announcing a
mind slowly flying away. for
years I had seen her, received
from her wrinkled hands strange
European sweets, and listened
to her tell delicious tales, when
I carried her groceries home. You
know, she is wiser than the good
book, a devout Jew in the South
Bronx, honey from heaven I first
met on the sidewalk a week before
the savior’s birth—I must tell you
this old woman touched me more
than prayer.

–h. j. Recinos, author of Word Simple (Wipf & Stock, 2017).