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Laurie Klein

Any Given Thing / Epiphany

Any Given Thing

Today you gather
three friends around an apple.
A basin, a cloth, and knife await.
Say you cradle
the fruit of downfall
until each cupped spill of water silvers
the apple's cheek, calling to mind
your newborn's brow. The tiny pulse.
Let it be toweled,
and swaddled a moment, then
quartered by one, deftly
cored by another. Consumed together
in silence, savored,
shamelessly, each noisy
bite the startle of sacrament:
the juice, the flesh.


Perhaps, rolled in papyrus
or raw silk,
the jeweled boxes arrive as small thuds,
and gifts imprint the dirt floor.
Were the Magi
quiescent?—a hint of Quaker,
a nod to Zen—with nothing
verbal to treasure or
ever replay in their minds
save eloquent exhalations,
the creak of joints,
be they camels or kings,
the serial tick of straw.
For the marveling patience
of plastic wise men
en route, step-by-step,
to Mother's crèche (despite
my down-the-stairs drop kicks,
behind her back), I reposition
my knees, atoning, wordless
now, as the star comes for me.

—Laurie Klein

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