Walk, before Christmas

Today, sky holds to thick,
 unbroken gray in this desert town.
 No snow. But cold.
 I pass cars thronging the curb,
 see in living-room windows the hopeful
 trees blazing like watch fires.
 By chance, a door opens -
 food scents pour out
 as if from years ago above a hearth.

An older couple, walking,
 their hands clasped.
 A young man, home from college
 or somewhere far,
 cleaning out his car, everything
 he has carried with him
 haphazard on the lawn.

With this town we go through milder
 winters, seldom ice storms
 weighting the trees, never
 the ice-crusted fields I slid
 as a child. Instead of ice-glitter,
 we have miniature lights
 people hang at eaves, twist
 along front-yard branches.

 Here, a dogwood is lit in red,
 as if it does not forget
 its fall fruit -
 here, a cherry tree in green,
 as if it is not able
 to wait for leaves.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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