No. 1, Mahsiah Road, Jerusalem
                                                   Advent 1, 1

Dearest Mary,

Census, wimpus! These Romans have no shame! Forcing you to
travel at a time like this.... Do be very careful, my dear. I have
packed you some yak butter, lots of dried fish, and a full bag of clean
rags. This trip couldn’t come at a worse time. I’m but barely
accustomed to your calling me “Mother.” But of course, as you said,
you never had a “real mother.”

I hope you will indulge me when I advise you about how to please
your husband. I should know. It was from me that he learned what to
like and not to like.

Refer to him, please, as a “contractor,” not just a carpenter. The
Romans don’t respect carpenters even as much as they respect
swineherds. Remember that my son helped you out of, how shall I
say, at best, a delicate situation. You had already begun to show!
Please tear up this letter and say nothing about this to anybody lest
you bring further risk to our family.

I hope you get a room in Bethlehem. Whatever you do, don’t cavort
with strangers. Some men will do almost anything to misbehave, even
dress up as angels or impersonate foreign dignitaries. Remember
you’re carrying my grandchild, surely the most important little baby in
the history of the whole world.



Copyright 2006,  Louie Crew

Louie Crew has edited special issues of College English and Margins. He has written three poetry volumes, Sunspots (Lotus Press, Detroit, 1976), Midnight Lessons (Samisdat, 1987), and Lutibelle’s Pew (Dragon Disks, 1990). The University of Michigan collects all of his papers. He professes English at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.


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