Taking down the tree

One by one I removed what we’d so carefully placed,

the ornaments collected over twenty-five years,

each of which reminded me of some where and

some one – and, too, of the lesser Christmas had now

by those in trouble (in my family, I kept it to that.)

By chance or design (otherwise known as an

algorithm of Spotify), my playlist flowed into

one of old love songs, this tributary in turn feeding

the river that flowed once past our house, there where

Mom and Dad had done their best just

to hang on. “Don’t give,” David Soul sang,

“up on me, baby.”

I fell in love there

for the first (and second and third)

time. Where does it go?

Well, I guess just

back in the box.

First the heaviest ones.

Then a layer of paper.

Then the lighter and more fragile

treasures –

the skiers and seaplane,

the painted glass balls –

in alternate layers to the top of the box.

“It’s sad… ” sang England Dan

and John Ford Coley,”

as I wound up the lights

and put away the peak.

“I guess that’s all

that it

would ever

be.”

Christmas Canticle

Trucks will head home for the

holidays, and wreaths will have

arrived to adorn doors

and spin like the sun at Fatima.

For those who would pass through

the hoop and the door, the tree awaits,

hoisting its star, a princely, tinsely

medal for the savior.