Inflatable Joseph

Inflatable Joseph stands sentry over Mary’s boy-child
permanently nestled in a nylon manger,
which hovers airborne yet earthbound,
never quite touching earth, never quite ascendant.
A wise man alongside
and symbolically behind our billowing hero
bears a rippling gift, probably the myrrh.
I’m not sure which of the three he is.
This invertebrate monarch has a beard
and an Eastern windy wisdom.
so it must be Balthasar.

Careful not to pull too tightly
on Inflatable Joseph as you erect or raze him
to begin or end this season of worship.
One false tug and he’s torn. Even a pinprick
brings Yuletide frustration.
Hell, at least you can see a tear,
like some great shaving error alongside his oxygenated Adam’s Apple
and tape it with color-coordinated electrician’s tape,
a sort of spiritual styptic pencil.

Inflatable Joseph sinks to Earth long after dark,
like the wetted Wicked Witch of the West,
minus the “Oh, what a world”
He rises the next evening, beaconing the night
Like some over-yeasted holy bread
to stand doughy, be-fanned sentinel
over our Savior once more.


Jeff Santosuosso is a business consultant and award-winning poet living in Pensacola, FL. He is Editor-in-Chief of Panoply, an online journal of poetry and short prose. Jeff’s work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has appeared in San Pedro River Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Mojave Dessert Review, The Lake (UK), Red Fez, First Literary Review-East, Texas Poetry Calendar, Avocet, and other online and print publications.

Brett Stout is a 38-year-old artist and writer. He is a high school dropout and former construction worker turned college graduate and Paramedic. He creates controversial art while breathing toxic paint fumes from a small cramped apartment referred to as “the nerd lab” in Myrtle Beach, SC. His artwork has appeared in a wide range of various media from small webzines like the Paradise Review to the University of Oklahoma Medical School Journal.