“Don’t pick the plums.”
Till then I’d not noticed
how juicy they look.
Not the nothing or everything
I wanted to go when it wasn’t
raining, and it wasn’t.
I saw how all is beautiful
if you just let your eye
adjust to it: the anchor on the
houseboat, the well-wishing
at the door, the kid’s book-
bag and yellow raincoat.
I remembered visiting Father
Imbelli’s mother, before
he and I made that retreat:
the narrow wall with books,
her Sinatra record, the window
looking out over the Bronx.
Later, at Maryknoll, we ate
from trays in the institutional
dining hall (I love those, the trays
and the dining halls), and drank
Jack Daniels while looking out
over the Hudson. Isn’t that what
we’re meant to do, take
the God’s-eye view
and love the supper from our tray?
How do you
so well know what
I will say and I,
your life before you live it,
Having failed to wrap up the past,
God saddles us
with the present and future as well!
I had my eye on a little place,
had stayed there many times
(prettiest place you ever saw!),
had come upon it by accident
after the hammer strike to the thumb,
marveling you could stand there and
feel no pain. Till you did – due
dilligence confirming what we all already knew.
But now with this new government
the fence on the fun has been flattened,
and the good times spill forth unhindered.
So I’ve bought in. And just in time, too.
For prices have spiked, and I’ll be damned if every hick
isn’t rushing in to punch his golden ticket!
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
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