Poetry: Again –Chris Warner


Really, anybody can see it—it’s limp, and skinny, maybe even skinnier than it was before, and that tree is definitely not proportional, or shapely, it’s not gently triangular, in fact it’s not even anywhere near Crayola green, it’s nothing like pictures of Christmas trees are supposed to be, and still

that tree, the one at the edge of your property, and of course confidently unblinking, is lit up like a stalwart beacon this year, doubtless driven by some expertly installed and cleverly hidden timer, solar, or lunar, or who knows, or moved by mental obsession or some physical obstruction, but whatever, this thing, this device, this tin bit of wonder, the of course perfect timer is the latest version, definitely expensive, able and electronically willing to attend to detail, dusk to dawn and day after day

and she wonders how the lights got up there in the first place, tree as long as a battleship, and well-worn, or beat-up, raggedy, like a first-world war—the kind that just drags on, year after year—you know, the kind of thing that just keeps going even as tin can rations run thin and those thoughtfully redesigned outfits wear through at sand-colored knees and hips and other points of important pressure—

and of course it’s hard to imagine a ladder that could reach that high, though maybe no ladder can ever extend far enough, not to get us from here to where we want to go or think we want to be, any of us, but still, somehow, the tree’s lit, it’s wound thick with lights

and it wasn’t last year, and last year the…thing…was still happening, and this year it’s not or you’re not or they haven’t but still she occasionally receives the random message—not nearly as beautiful as you—or you’re on my mind every day and every night

and so it’s all confused again or still, like a train rattling down rusted tracks to some country-ass crazy-town, impending skin abrasions and organ injuries and probably a horse or bull fatality or two, another conductor gently nodding off due to highway hypnosis, or so the lawyers will allege, and it seems, doesn’t it, that there’s a name for just about everything—but not everything—or, it doesn’t matter anyway—or probably—

and maybe it was just that some other high-up-muckety-muck, like an engineer or COO or one of those star-studded generals got bored again and needed a little external invigoration—just a little something in between, say, refueling and the next public urinal station—so a random switch got flipped in some cold control room, or maybe it was a kitchen or the club car—

and still, she knows: you’re there, you are, you’re safe from the intermittent sound of shotguns in the morning or that late night echo of a hollow wooden whistle, you’re there, up on that hill, moon and all, and all those swollen pale yellow windows, you’re in there, well-insulated—properties and business, social position, all those chess boards and framed decrees of lineage, all the duties and good deeds, the fine children, the stable wife, so talented and lovely, the one everybody loves, the one nobody wants to slice

down or burn through—and the light’s lit above your side door, too, the door where nobody shows up, banging on the wood frame or beating on the screen that, oddly, you always leave in, that side door where there’s never anybody just standing, mascara running, nails bitten, red paint peeled, demanding or, good God, please, begging, or throwing half-wrapped gifts—ridiculous personalized mix-tapes or bizarre miniature musical instruments without any discernible use or the latest novel about debris or a volume of poetry more like a how-to index—

no, nobody’s throwing things all over the perfectly placed stones of that patio and nobody’s there stamping their small frozen feet or grinding green and red and white striped candy-canes down into the grooves of your new door sill and

of course no one’s leaning over that neatly aligned and silvery polished chain-link fence stuffing the wet maws of those half-crazed dogs with hunks of festive holiday chocolate, one fistful at a time, muttering and crying, shhhhh, it’ll be ok, it will—I promise. No. No one is. No one will. Or not yet. Not this year.

Chris Warner, graduate of the Harvard University School of Education (M.Ed., ’97), is (still) an emerging poet, and the author of a micro-chapbook, Strokes (Mostly) in Silence; her poem, “Engulfed” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2013). Chris also teaches yoga, core strength, and mindfulness meditation in West Boxford, MA, and offers workshops throughout the greater Boston area. In January of 2014, Chris began co-leading the creative writing program for inmates at MCI Concord, medium security prison. Her writing process is, as Stephen King says, “ass in seat.” Everyday. And she also works, everyday, at letting go of attachment to outcome.  photo by VOIGTF64

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