Christmas without Parents
By John Nimmo
We walk to flat wet sand and watch
the lurch of froth at breakers’ edge.
All dark above, where at dusk
brown pelicans and terns,
erratically braiding their patterns of flight,
plunged, plundering schools of fish.
Orion shines as on a years-ago midnight:
out of church we looked up to stars
popping out of the sky’s black fabric,
O Holy Night yet in our ears
from the young soloist who poured
her every scrap of talent into each
night divine, King of kings, fall on your knees.
Tomorrow my newly Jewish sister will cook
our trailer-camp feast, pork roast
in a Dutch oven, and a chicken thigh
for her son inclined against the heterodox.
She and I and kids will swim in surf
watched by spouses who lack
cold-water genes. We’ll fly kites
with our toes in the sand. Unlike
the days when unending grown-up chitchat
bored me as I stared at tinsel and lights,
longing to be at home under the Christmas tree
shooting popgun corks at cardboard parrots.
Water washes up to our sneakers from black waves
holding fish our human eyes never see
except sometimes by day for a second
in a hungry beak. Stars disappear
below the edge of the world,
but we know the light of star and sun does not end,
that morning will become bright,
and we feel in this no marvel
because of the unnamed faith we share
with all who are this moment incarnate.