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Desert Christmas
by Ed Bennett

The sky is cloudless,
blue electric brightness
to backlight the pinnate palms.
The house finches sing
their morning chant from within
a desert willow, still leafed
and reluctant to shed.

It is just now winter in the Mojave,
respite from the tyrant sun
of high summer when
the flow of life stops each afternoon,
obeisance to three digit temperatures.
But the solstice has passed
and soon we will be cooler.

One wonders at the other desert
that claimed a nascent savior
yet somehow had the snows
of Northern Europe on its mind.
Shepherds with their flocks
no doubt comforted and warmed
by a desert breeze and a choir of angels

Somehow becomes a Santa Claus
in short red pants, a bell
to call for charity as we shop
to feed our excess, feed our emptiness.
A savior born in the truth of
a seasonless desert welcomed by
a temperate sun, a choir of finches.


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