by Johanna Caton
...but not in the usual sense. It was so hard to get to Bethlehem for the mass census. We had been before, but this year’s journey chilled us to the bone, (the night air was darker) – the year hurried, harried us through still streets, bumped us on the subway, like a stubborn mule stopping and starting. Everyone had losses. Everyone feels lost. But we aren’t lost now – not tonight. We know where we are: squeezing through a narrow door, about to emerge breathless, messy, exhausted as newborns, but soon to be fed. Ah – folding down to our knees in the spilled fodder of church – the only stable place in the universe – still masked, yet exposed, and so hungry to embrace the earthy, smelly, animally, raw, angel-haunted, glory-drenched human, tonight: born – again.
Johanna Caton, O.S.B., is a Benedictine nun of Minster Abbey in England. Originally from Virginia, she lived in the U.S. until adulthood, when her monastic vocation took her to Britain. Her poems have appeared in both online and print publications, including The Christian Century, The Windhover, A Time of Singing, Amethyst Review, The Ekphrastic Review and the Catholic Poetry Room webpage at integratedcatholiclife.org. Some of her poems can be found at www.integratedcatholiclife.org/?s=johanna+caton