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Walk, before Christmas

By June Frankland Baker / December 15, 1999

Today, sky holds to thick,

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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