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Long Beach, CA

The Week After Christmas

There are still cars rushing about the streets, but for this week
We can pretend the world is resting with us
It’s not a holy hush—we’re no longer naive enough for that
But there is something holy in it, sure
Like Mary after labor and Joseph, sore from the road and from so much hope (for hope is so very hard to hold):
Before grazing in the fields of dream, they gaze content as the baby sleeps
They pause and breathe

And here we are nestled in a tiny corner of calendar, good for breathing, 
Where everyone at last says, “Good view, but that was a hard climb”
We nod our heads without saying a word
We all know it’s hard, and no one expects we should move on too soon, 
With time to remove pebbles from our shoes, we sit and rest,
Sensing this is what life should always be—
Time to move slowly, which means time to see 

Or we walk, with no place in view
And find, down by the theater, beneath the neon that bathes us in simpler times, 
That the sun is a perfect haze of sunset, orange and blue and gray 

It’s a metaphor, perhaps, that all will merge back into one:
The earth will be reborn in fire, without divisions of moon and earth and sky 
You'll open the door, then, on that day, and the whole sky will pour into you, and every color, for the sea, too, has passed away, and every pretense with it,
As evening succumbs to day

I felt some of that when you opened the door—
The air was cold and cool and perfect, as the earth tilts now on its axis, indifferent for this long moment, lending us time to take stock
I oblige him:
I take stock of your figure and your frame
The aspect of your face, 
Your head-shaking smile, fixing my soul in faith
And I know as I know my own name that somehow, in that future place, all these glories are preserved, too, by God’s good grace

After all, it is this night, just past heaven’s first appearing
That we’ll remember fifty years from now
Not the morning of Christ’s birth— 
No, I will remember how we held each other and found rest for the next good climb
As angels kept singing, “Peace on earth”

For more poetry, click here.