The Emperor is always afraid,
his minions always angry.
His Empire is allergic to justice,
terrified of the truth
and powerless over love.
His only hope is fear.

Desperate to replicate himself a thousand times
on coin and tower, monument and shadow,
and in faces etched with fear,
he will pledge to make the kingdom great again
with the usual atrocities.
Unable to be in the same realm
as the Powerless One, the Generous Mystery,
he will abolish grace, as best he can.
He will seek God as diligently as any pilgrim,
with eyes of murder.

The soldiers have their orders, a clean sweep,
to make Bethlehem safe again.
Newscasters have become accustomed now
to the cleansings reported in between the
car crashes and the bad weather,
the latest, breaking from Bethlehem.
The chief of police stretches his vocabulary,
the cameras linger on him
because they cannot bear

Rachel weeping for her children.

Herod is sure of himself
but the Holy One
escapes him.


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