Bernborough

A STORM ENDED THE WILDFIRES;
a forgiving winter, indeed.
Our coats and hats hang together 
like invisible house guests.
Mom bought a twenty one-pound turkey for four people…
Italians. 
It was so big we had to store the carcass in a trash bag
to make the soup the next morning. 
We cooked all weekend together,
like Old Philadelphia.
Evan is home for his first Christmas in four years;
the wrinkles at the rims of his eyes show how high his smile can go. 
David sat on the back deck by the fire pit,
reading The Death of Ivan Ilych with a glass of red bourbon in his hand. 
Mom admired him from the kitchen window. 
She loves that kitchen window. 
I kept to the clutter of the kitchen counters,
working with my hands and listening to Down To The Bone’s “Getting It Together”
while getting it together. 

After breakfast,
I ran to the market for ingredients.
I drove by my old stomping grounds,
where people sleep on the sidewalks like sardines—everywhere.
Saddened, I took the long way home,
driving and thinking
about how nothing is more psychologically taxing
than being homeless during the holidays.
Suddenly, I pulled into the driveway.
I had been so deep in thought
I don’t remember yielding to a single traffic light.
On entering the house,
the wear and tear of old memories melted at the door.
I felt an opening of sunlight, strength, and serenity—bless my whole being.
I followed the smell of the afternoon crema
chased around by the perfectly burnt crust of the sweet brioche
into the little library, where I sunk into the La-Z-Boy push-back by the window
and turned to my journal: the Great Developer.
A bug crawled across the keys of my laptop—
from A to S.
I didn’t kill him; I named him
and started this poem with an A and an S.
Clean-minded, I relaxed in the energies of Bernborough,
It is a warm and generous current which eases the cranks and shakes of winter’s ways;
it runs through the office, the kitchen, the hallways and bedrooms,
and then returns back to us.
Sitting with it,
I leaned back and listened.
Mom was humming,
Evan was laughing.
David was opening that beautiful bottle of Black Tie Charlie;
the one we brought back from Wine Country in June.
And why not?
Knowing that one day, this rich and charitable house
on this lovely little lamp-lit street
will no longer host our gatherings.
After all, we’re all just an accident away
from missing the next cycle of life’s celebrations.
However, Godward, we made it to this one,
and we made it a good one.
_

Music that influenced this post:

And It’s Still Alright by Nathaniel Rateliff