12.21.2008

A Connecticut Christmas


They are graduates all
of the Saint Michael's choirs,
these Cooks and Waterhouses
and Smiths. The carols
swing fast from timid waking -
a musical slumber
these twelve thick months - to Baroque
descants, four-part harmony.
Behind a man I have just met
I am propped on the bathroom door.

This is the year's one day
the glossy piano knows contact.
Dessert has been laid
on the gleaming buffet,
but the choir soldiers on.
Once in a while a neighbor
mouths, "Come, sing," to me
from a rosy couch. "Come, sing."
The voices are careless, sincere.

Weary husbands rock
on the balls of their feet, arms full
of fur coats. Their wives are full too.
The first glass to remember,
the second pretending, the third
to soak up the mess of the others.
I have climbed the stairs
for my notebook. Down in the library
a young tenor has won
the piano bench. The notes

float up, not Christmas at all,
but Journey. The tenor downstairs
looks for me and my flushed cheeks
at the borders,
and I am not there.



photograph by the indomitable Rachel K

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