Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas sentence

(with thanks to Sally B., after nikki giovanni)


at Christmas
we drive through the flat 
Carolina plain
turned blonde in winter,
trees scraping the 
naked sky,
to home,
so we can puff our cheeks with 
butter-dipped rolls,
soft as clouds
and pickled green beans and
my mother's cake, dripping with 
creamy caramel,
sitting at the table 
set with my mother's 
scrolled silver
that we used to use 
every day 
when i was a child,
and my father 
carefully annunciates 
each word
of the blessing
for the first time 
all year,
thanking God 
for gifts of grace
known, but mostly not
and for family,
past and absent,
present and 
even pending,
then once stuffed,
we fuss about who will 
clean the
stacks of dishes
piled at the sink, 
then we laugh over coffee
at how i never stayed at camp,
then we place bets on who is 
number one in 
grandmother
"B"'s eyes,
and as the sun sets,
hugs travel across
the room as fast as gossip
as we make our way
to leave,
and once outside
our breath
fills the 
crisp night
with clouds as soft 
as those rolls,
then we drive back through
the darkened plain
and over the river
and through the woods
to our other 
home,
the tastes of 
yeast and butter 
and caramel
and 
family
lingering 
on our tongues.


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