Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Eve, 1964

last minute drugstore gifts are best for pure excitement!
someone's sure to want just one more box of
chocolate covered cherries-

look around...the greeting cards are gone
but it's too late to mail them.
I buy rose colored lipstick for my sister

(as we planned). in exchange she'll bring
her coin wrapped change to bear on
the lilac creme sachet I had my eye on

last Saturday. we conspire this way
considering ourselves true friends, true elves.
how surprised our Grandfather seems

each year unwrapping the same Old Spice aftershave
in a porcelain bottle: will the blue ship sail him away
to destinations he dreams of in the easy chair

perusing issues of the National Geographic?
Anxiously he peers over his glasses:
do you think she'd like this?

wonder of wonders, what find is this,
this late on Christmas Eve?
a jewelry box beyond compare in tiers, with

rainbow opal figures from some chinese screen
inlaid on an ebony surface lined with
(it looks like) bright red silk!

oh yes, we breathe! my sister and I.
he seems relieved; we take our bundles home.
and wrap them poorly (too much tape)
with bright good will. scissor curled ribbons.

on Christmas morn I remember well
my Grandmother's fingers trembling at the lid
of the beautiful, beautiful box; more beautiful than jewels themselves,

my Grandfather's face-
a quiet Christmas to itself
a little sublime.
that was our drugstore Christmas Time.

mary angela douglas 22 december 2014