Matthew 1:18-25

No, that was another Joseph.

I am not the one
in many-colored coat, braggart boy, Daddy’s pet
who told his brothers they’d grovel before him, who
dreamed that the heavens would dim
before his brilliance, who lured our ancestors west
famine dogging their heels.

I never confused myself

with the messenger,
much less the message.
I work with chisel and hammer, lathe and line,
a worker of wood and hewer of timber,
not prone to flights of fancy, feet on solid ground
even after she came into my life.

It was time for a wife. So the match
was arranged, her eyes shyly downcast,
her youth convinced me my simple life would spool on. But

now she speaks of being
the handmaiden of the Lord,
but prophet, too,
breathing revolution and a child to come
who will be God-with-us,
Eternity become enfleshed wisdom and truth.

With my pledge

–and angelic visitors’ guidance.

Now I am the Joseph-guided-by-dreams, angels
arriving on beams of light under night’s curtain, drawn aside
to unveil a new future, a choice
to smother the scandal by embracing all.
My honor will be their shield.
Helpless, from child’s first cry
my arms will open to claim and name
the One through whom all creation spins into life.

No, I am not that Joseph, either.
And so I echo her “Let it be for me
according to your will,” and I
will offer my name, my arm, my heart
to child and mother 

as my God commands,

even to following the Joseph path westward,
the night banged with terror through
despotic plots and angelic commands.
At your word, Lord, I will go
led by dreams, and faith.

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