Wine festered at the bottom of my skull.
Wind blew the night's big ideas off the trees.
The moon had frostbite. The stars did, too.
Be kind to animals was mother's mantra.
Do your duty was father's.
Their ghosts breathed on my rear-view mirror.
I parked by a locked bank.
An SPCA volunteer guided me across ice
to a llama starved by a bankrupt farmer.
Dogs lined up behind the topless Cadillac
of the Christmas queen, polar bears
crooning Elvis hits on a plywood iceberg.
A police car uncoiled red razor wire
from a siren. Shriners
traced signs for infinity in dwarf Corvettes.
I shivered among Cub Scouts
staggering into wind like Arctic explorers,
lips blue as their uniforms.
We marched beneath a pink cloud on a spacewalk
past Main Street's plastic Santas
to a big tent by Saint Francis Church.
Warming my hands around cups
of mulled cider, I listened to Youths
for Christ argue about beasts in the Apocalypse.
After the first snow, the floats huddled
in the parking lot
like a city buried beneath desert sand.
Copyright © 2013 by Henry Hart
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission