First the bright-grinned kids,
Boys in red sweaters,
News of promotions.
Soon enough the grandchildren,
All lined up by the tree,
Tallest to shortest.
Then later a snapshot, no message,
A man our age with a new, younger wife.
And now today a note, no picture,
In the hand of a woman we do not know:
They got it all, the surgeon says;
Expecting him home for Christmas.
THE VEGETABLE SLICER
Caught up short late one December,
I bought a vegetable slicer,
Garishly hawked at a shopping mall in Arlington:
You want julienne strips? Watch this!
I found out later she had cried on Christmas morning.
Duty required packing it up when we sold that house,
But not the next one.
This was forty years ago.
Regretted presents pile up at the curbside;
Love persists, moves on.
DECEMBER 7, 2003
The post office flag is at half staff;
For a moment I can’t think why.
For us, this was my father’s birthday;
(In a child’s memory, only a radio, speaking darkly).
He would be one hundred today.
We fix Christmas wreaths for the cemetery,
Something my mother had done.
I bind greenery to metal frame
And wonder idly how much more
Floral wire I’m apt to need.
“Christmas Cards” appeared in A Little Poetry, Spring-Summer 2007; “The Vegetable Slicer: appeared in Poet’s Ink, March 2008; "December 7, 2003” appeared in Thorny Locust, December 2006
Robert Demaree is the author of three book-length collections of poems, including After Labor Day, published in April 2014 by Beech River Books. In 2013 his poems received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, where he lives four months of the year. His poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals. For further information see http://www.demareepoetry.
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