It's all shades of black and white out there
snowing diagonally at dusk, and
the people from the church stand on the
sidewalk where they always do weekends
dishing out warm food and hot soup
to anyone who steps up - the poor -
you might call them.
This scene never seems to change, but the givers seem
warm and joyful, and their church is down the street
so they don't look like they're out doing good works,
they look just like everyone else here doing what they do,
wearing hoods, waiting for buses, walking on slippery sidewalks,
some of them with such quick and searching eyes.
A few blocks later, it's coming down at a greater rate
in bigger flakes and everything is now white
except the cars and the buildings and the people under hoods.
A car goes by on the left headed in the other direction
and I glimpse a broken bicycle somehow attached to its back door,
while to my right a black hooded form lies in the snow white street
on its side, small hands pressed together in between its knees.
Someone on a cell phone stands over the form
from under his hood a human face shows
an earnest plea for emergency services,
and on the sidewalk stand small children, also hooded,
watching, not knowing where to look, trying not to be
swallowed up by the snow coming now horizontally.
I want to say - I love you, but it's really turning to
New England's winter version of shit out here fast,
maybe the best thing to do for all concerned is
watch where I'm going and get the hell off the streets.
It's one of those cold clear nights
good and holy, quiet and still
featuring plenty of moonlight and stars
walking under it for a moment
after the trials and festivities of the day
I remember her asking me
if I even like Christmas
because after fifteen or more spent
together, she never thought I did.
The moon is silent, cold and beautiful
and this moment here, stopping now,
has something to do with what your heart is
and why no one else can see what you mean.
Anxiety doesn't take holidays
everything's overdrawn, unmaintained,
too spread out, and it has now fallen dark
on Christmas Eve, and there are many
things I have to be that seem to give
Joy more than it can handle.
Broken glasses, a meltdown, an aborted, highly anticipated Christmas
Concert - Don't freak out, that's the only rule - and you tell him Don't worry
It takes a life time to master, meanwhile she (Number 1) thinks ghostly fingers
Are changing the settings on her clock radio in the night and the other one
Says slyly that no, he might not see me Saturday, not if the world ends
So you quiz him on his vocabulary and he does pretty well then falls
Asleep listening to Harry Potter tapes for about the five hundredth time
And then the two of you compare notes on the Christmas shopping and plan
The weekend then you drive an hour home, Burt Bacharach is asking you now What do you get when you fall in love?
You're listening into silence half sick with thoughts
of all the things you cannot protect your children from
it's not advisable to go down this path, but there's no alternative,
it's chatter more than thinking really, and your crossed fingers
and clenched jaws, they are really prayer directed to who knows
what or who knows where, but you feel you must direct it on the off chance
it'll be heard and responded to. Let's not forget to celebrate.
Silent and black tonight with everything encased in ice
Remember when winter meant snow?
There's no wind, a blessing keeping the trees from cracking while
Today the funerals for those first graders and their teachers began and
We are arguing about gun laws, mental illness and what do do about it, or
Talking about football as though it matters, but I am remembering
Old friends, thinking that I didn't keep very much of their hearts at all.