No Christmas in Bethlehem

There will be no lights
this year in Bethlehem.
What singing there is
will be dirges or wishes.
Not fifty miles away
there will be the whistling
before the explosion,
the lights of flares and fire,
then ruin in the darkness.

I have heard that Herod
clung to his power
on the bodies of children.
His killers still pick off
the ones who can’t get away—
girl in a hospital,
old woman in a courtyard,
cameraman in his blue vest.

Up above no angels
proclaim peace on earth,
but drones keep buzzing
like giant flies smelling death
as F-16s desecrate the sky.
And yet, every night high
in the heavens above you
and me and Bethlehem—
the silent stars go by.


Matthew Murrey is the author of the poetry collection Bulletproof (Jacar Press, 2019). In addition to having had work in Dissident Voice, his poems can be found in The Dodge, Bear Review, HAD, and elsewhere. He was a public school librarian for 21 years, and lives in Urbana, IL with his partner. His website is at . He can be found on Instagram, Twitter and Bluesky under the handle @mytwords. Read other articles by Matthew, or visit Matthew's website.