Saturday, November 26, 2005

Boxes of old snap shots

We are here at a table
full of grown up things
from closets where boxes
are stacked with the hints
of history in receipts,
business cards, flashlights
without batteries.
There is nothing I can say
when there is a blank piece
of paper stapled to another
page from a memo pad
where "hurry" is written
in pencil jags desperate
enough to run off the page
and into another room.
From the kitchen you said
you could hear angels breathing
so slightly out of wind that their
wings move the branches from
the roof, swoop the leaves from the
longest branches, make a cloud
surrender its rain as we
go through the photos of
us gathered around baskets
of colored eggs on a Sunday
after dinner, the sun fading
on the sidewalk and a shadow
creeping over half the
house, all our clothes were
showing the disarray of
being worn all day, it was Easter
in 1963, the angels were there
even then.
Lights dim and go bright again,
a cell phone rings,
one of us steps outside and
chats on the porch and now
we can hear the low hiss of
tires rolling to a halt at the corner
where there are four stop signs
and only one car,
feathers fall from the sky
and makes the skin of
couples walking their dog
crawl like battalions of snakes
creeping their way to the
Irish sea, yes, I see you
holding up a 45 record,
no, I wasn't a musician
back then, I wasn't that old
but you are this beautiful
as yet another box is emptied,
how many cigarette lighters are
held in a bundle with a thick
red rubber band and
how many cigarettes and cigars
do you think they lit
at the bars where the parents
drank on Saturday nights
in the Summer, usually when
it rained and the aroma of
the State Fair would come over
the trees and fill the living rooms
full of farm smells, the world
was a soiled stack of straw.
Yes, that is my Dad,
that's my mom,
no, I don't know where they got
the fake beards
and vampire teeth,
they told me it was
a holiday for dead things
when only ghosts and their
pets walk the supermarket aisles
past cereal boxes and diet plans
before they drift into the parking lot
and float up to the moon’s white corona
to play nursery on the stars
on the stars and sleep
finally in the space between
the earth and the sky,
yes, that’s right,
my father was quite a storyteller,
he could do the impossible,
he stayed married to my mom, after all.

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