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12-24 midnight after 9-11-01

The baby grows up into
"Jesus" by name -- the Lord saves, or will, as it reads
in the original
His denizens give dozens of titles --
"Lord," "Almighty," "Prince of Peace" even this year,

and on and on — but that real name
MERCY is what they endure airport security for
wands waving to detect metal as they headlong homeward come
this time
or at distant borders where refugees encamp
on the harm side of checkpoints lately closed
MERCY — rescuer rushing towards their own centers’ fierce fires
MERCY holding them or holding hands as their lives collapse
beneath their own sheer weight
or as ever-fragile peace falls
like a tower or two
of babel
or a dry pearl
from the mistletoe sprig at the door

come still
and ever
come again
and always


Posted Dec. 22, 2001

William Leety is pastor of Overbrook church, Columbus, Ohio.