winter solistice, 2002 (excerpts)


A green barbed phantom,

dotted with red and glitter

stands in metal, filled with water;

four screws gouge its trunk,

erect it

in the family room.

This tree is our refuge,

a piece of life here by our fire

on this darkest day of the year,

just before

we stop

this migration

to begin

our way back

to the light.


In the garden trees wait patiently,


befriended by true red

cardinals, while inside,

this pine glows with blue,

yellow, green, red lights,

strung in pearls, crystal frills, gilt trim,

a gauzy angel on top,

reminding us to believe.



On this darkest day of the year,

my daughters rehearse songs

they will soon perform on violins;

eyes fixed on music,

hands loosely gripping bows,

fingers searching out notes.


I want to warn them

about brutes, leaders, lies,

people who easily forget,

but standing behind that lighted tree

in the family room

just before midday,

they are oblivious to my unease.


At once

they look up at me

standing in the kitchen

cradling a cup of tea

with both hands.

I mouth the words I love you,


and hope it is enough.