by Michael H. Lythgoe

Published in Issue No. 21 ~ February, 1999

It is a dangerous time
For travelers and exiles
With the bandits about
And beaches awash with refugees;
Skeletons herded behind barbed
Wire wear burnt holes in blankets
For eyes. The displaced
Are wading over borders
On moonlight nights
Or put to sea in leaky skiffs;
They pole the Arab marshes.

         In Biblical times
Three robed astrologers arrived
Dazed from charting galaxies
To counsel the family to trek
A different route to Egypt.

Today peace makers careen
Off mountain roads in jeeps, wrecked
In humvees on missions to parley cease
Fires, wise men wearing flak
Vests but unable to find a star
To follow, wishing to bypass
The tyrant’s palace.

Fearful of mines, the Blue Helmets
Hunker down near Sarajevo;
They are the despised, the unsafe
In the safe havens, hostages
In chains starving for the solace
Of the magi, unable to spot
The starlight shot out by snipers.

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Michael H. Lythgoe holds the MFA from Bennington College, and served a career as an Air Force Officer. His interviews with contemporary poets on Writing and Faith appeared in the Aug '98 issue of The Writer's Chronicle. He has published a chapbook of poems, titled Visions, Revisions.