The Holy Family in Calais, Christmas Eve

She is stirring a pot of lentils over the makeshift fire, sun setting through the barbed wire fence behind her. He mends a broken tent, evidence of the last police raid.

How many months? she is asked over and over by those who seek her shelter.

Almost nine.

In this no mans land, the child is her talisman: proof that past and future are connected by some thin, elastic thread she need not understand. She accepts their place in the trailing wilderness of happenings. The stars leap out of the dark.

Before she sleeps, she will turn her face eastward, making the sign of the cross with her whole body, child rising and falling with her in these simple movements. Her eyes, a vessel of knowledge and fortitude. Her face to the exact spot where, by morning, the Day will break in the coming of a new light.

Image by Kelly Latimore Icons

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