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Chrismation
Jonathan Diaz (bio)

Brown glass glow and polished steel,
glorious jars of lotion and cream gathered
on shelves, waiting their redolent slather
on a bristling jaw, sweet lather to loose
the hair beneath the razor’s swathe.
I am here for my father’s gift, which
I was bid again to leave un-bought,
charitable thought belied each year
by reproachful eyes on Christmas morning.
Now, he is bearded like the Cid,
a wiry mask about his laughing mouth,
flowing over his machinist’s frock
to make of him an errant Athonite,
a Brother strayed from the blessed mountain.
A salesman smears thick oil on his thumb,
commends this perfumed grease to me
for properties of eucalyptus and
orange peel, says it will soften a stiff
beard and scent it with cloves.

But will it be heavy
as Holy Chrism? Will it be
myrrh-sweet and sting
like salt on a scored tongue?

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