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Autumn Annunciation

1

A boy-cut scraped my neck,

And September’s rays pinked it

In time for the equinox,

But the trees sneezed green.

Yesterday our Christmas came,

Undecking a failed debate—

Fairy lights or jeweled bulbs?

We unrolled nameless trinkets

And glass balls from creped tissue,

The dead skin of unmerry truth.

2

The hue-and-and-try-me cries

Of crayon rows standing stiffly

In an orange-and-green box

That popped open and shut

Without mysterious hinges

Sang to my five-year-old fingers.

I baked my fire-sign pie;

It pulsed orange-yellow flares,

And red spots blazed its center

On a thin sheet topping

A five-and-dime art pad.

Why back the sun into a corner

And wane it pale to a gibbous moon?

The sky—the thin measure

Of a ruler—never cut

Across white nothingness;

I pushed its blue gravity

To the tips of bladed grass

(Unwhirred by the lawnmower)

And around the graying tree,

Its branches gnarling down to twigs

Where Popsicle leaves hung,

Purple, turquoise, red, and sherbet,

Electric living color,

Like the TV peacock

Dazzling my parents’ den

After the black-and-white set

Blew out—“This time for good,”

Diagnosed the repairman,

Waving his crutch at the holdout.

His stump, cut below the knee,

Rocked to-and-fro, a rhythm

That I never questioned.

But my kindergarten teacher

Lectured that Popsicles

Should never hang on trees—

Her autumn annunciation.

3

We divided untested themes

Buried in green plastic boxes.

His ornaments broke to basics:

Red, green, white, and gold oddities,

Light strings strangling newspaper rolls.

My color-blind hands packed the rest:

Vague flourishes of blue and pearl—

The year Christmas hijacked

Hanukkah on a designer’s whim.

The gem-studded tree topper,

Like a graceful teardrop earring,

Stayed, boxed and bubble-wrapped,

From last year’s post-holiday sale.

Categories: Poetry The Writing Well

Tagged as:

Catherine Hamrick

Soul deep storyteller, editor, writing coach, and social media human

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