Around the Island

Poem: Christmas Eve at The Waldorf Astoria — New York City, 2006

Jesus brought our bags

up to Room 805

at a little after Three.

He stayed

only long enough

to show us

the mini-bar, and

how to manage

the thermostat.

He let us know

that room service

would bring whatever

we desired.

Around the clock.

He was shorter

than I might have

imagined, from those

paintings of Caravaggio,

and all of the

crucifixes of my childhood.

Hair sable, and newly cut,

He wore a gray uniform,

like the others in His place,

alive to serve mankind.

The outer edge

of His heels were

burnished by the miles

of pavement and carpet.

I wanted to ask Him

about The War,

and the crying babies

in East Harlem.

The dripping glaciers,

and where to find

a thing like Justice

in a world turning itself

inside out.

I wanted to know

if He could ever recall

sixty-three degrees

in New York City, at

the tail end of December.

But, I did not wish

to add to

His burden.

The Lobby

was teeming with

Italians and Minnesotans

and French and

Asians of many kinds.

All staring up

each time the chimes

rolled out from that

fabled golden clock.

There was only time,

to press a folded five

into His palm,

to thank him

for bearing the weight

for us who are travelers.

And He smiled

in a way which

reassured me that

Somehow,

Everything

would be

all right.

This poem is from the collection, “A Shed for Wood,” published in Ireland by Salmon Poetry in 2014. The author, Daniel Thomas Moran, former Poet Laureate of Suffolk County, and a former Island resident, lives now in New Hampshire.