|JOSEPH, THE CARPENTER
When she told him, his thoughts
to how people's tongues would do
in, but he had given his word.
The union, too, was his in part,
and joints grow firmer when they
If he could have reached her heart
and felt it beat around the truth
and kept their plumb right with
he wouldn't have cared what to
or where she'd chosen to lie.
Either he was hers, or he'd grieve
he wasn't. The rest was in trust.
Doubtless he had breathed a dumb
settling to pronounce his ache
like an old house timbered to adjust,
but from his ancestral namesake
he'd learned how jealousy had rivaled
brothers with a simple coat,
of many pelts, and how a goat's
head had seemed to rest on their
Within a generation, he swelled
with pride at crowds this son had
with his talk of being a child
and of life found in his father's
and he almost believed in angels.
Then he tried to remember how
he had been the crux of their problems,
but it had all faded away
like most of what we do or say
till you might as well say it's
After all their years together
her olives were firm to his tongue,
her grape wine, her fragrance cedar,
a tender lamb whose fleece had
he felt he'd known an angel.