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The Camels' Tale of the Epiphany, a prose poem by Michael Brockley

Editor's Note: Epiphany is Jan. 6

The Camels' Tale of the Epiphany
by Michael Brockley

In our dreams, we still race across deserts, stopping for water in Bedouin camps where ragamuffins scurry between our legs like impudent dogs. For months, we carried the instruments of astronomy. Telescopes, calipers, Balthazar's abacus. A shifting load of papyrus scrolls and gifts. During the trek, our riders cursed when clouds concealed the daystar. Sang a new algebra whenever the sky exulted with light. Caspar exhorted us with oaths. Melchior with his whip. In Bethlehem, our caravan dozed in the shadows cast by the glow around the infant. The bulls braced their humps against the stable walls. The cows rested near their calves. Our youngest calves nuzzed. Their hooves and knees unaccustomed to labor. Livestock lowed around the manger. The weary mother longed for the privacy to nurse her child. In the courtyard, men gathered to argue the hour of departure; their voices so shrill our cows arose on trembling legs. The panic of flight spread among us like an infestation of ticks. We remembered the cool waters from the springs of Joppa, the willows and poplars of Béziers. But knew the road before us would detour through a wilderness of vinegar and thorns. 

Bio: Michael Brockley is a 67-year-old school psychologist who works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, The New Verse News, The Rat's Ass Review and Panoplyzine. Forthcoming poems can be found in Atticus Review, Gargoyle and Zingara Poetry Picks.