MY CHRISTMAS PLAY

                    He chooses a slim volume of Sapphic verse
                    from the nightstand, imagines skinny girls
                    on a Greek isle in the middle of the Mojave…

                                        – Red Shuttleworth (“Gabby Hayes (1951)”)

Whir of feathers from the brush, moments
can escape like quail in all directions—
the heart leaps backwards, freezes

as they buzz off to fractured rocks, or
we can read long-limbed verse, watch
sycamores shed enflamed leaves,

first hard rain after the first hard frost,
near the solstice, to dance naked
in the mist of morning, most years.

Beyond the bright lights, a man can
go a little crazy, make do and make sense
of things he thinks he sees, believing.

Somewhere in our brains are big
empty socks that hang from a mantle
with impossible names yet to be filled.

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