Monday, July 03, 2006

Holiday Illustrations From the Book of American Life

After the smell of hotdogs on the fourth day of July,
the fountains that cause un-surmountable glee,
it’s too hot to wear flip-flops. Then school starts anyway,

the pools close, and the pumpkins wear silly faces
(some with paper ears).
The air smells heavy with the wetness of leaves

or exciting, when raked piles crackle and burn.
The turkey’s in the oven, and the house smells like yams.
After the tree goes up, and the cat pulls tinsel down,

the crèche holds the Jesus-Baby and Advent-candles glow,
we trade Valentine cards, and the snow blows in (a bit
later than expected). Deep snow-drifts pile up—

reaching the roof of the falling-down shed.
After the cherry blossoms and azaleas come forth,
and the wind blows yellow pollen all over the car,

the sky has grown dark and the firmament shaken:
We anoint His body in a borrowed tomb
and wait together for three days, each blossom

on the dogwood forming its symbolic cross.
After Resurrection, a butterfly lingers close to my face.
We smell the delicate scent of roses. The weather’s

warmer, and we notice—by the light of any dawn
or any twilight’s gleam—that a steady and impoverished
stream is penetrating our southernmost rampart.

Now we’re back at the Day of Independence.
And “Oh say, can you see”
(who God sees) in the hamburger air?

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